Accumulation of long-chain glycosphingolipids during aging is prevented by caloric restriction

María José Hernández-Corbacho, Russell W. Jenkins, Christopher J. Clarke, Yusuf A. Hannun, Lina M. Obeid, Ashley J. Snider, Leah J. Siskind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease are major causes of morbidity and mortality that are seen far more commonly in the aged population. Interestingly, kidney function declines during aging even in the absence of underlying renal disease. Declining renal function has been associated with age-related cellular damage and dysfunction with reports of increased levels of apoptosis, necrosis, and inflammation in the aged kidney. Bioactive sphingolipids have been shown to regulate these same cellular processes, and have also been suggested to play a role in aging and cellular senescence. Methodology/Principal Findings: We hypothesized that alterations in kidney sphingolipids play a role in the declining kidney function that occurs during aging. To begin to address this, the sphingolipid profile was measured in young (3 mo), middle aged (9 mo) and old (17 mo) C57BL/6 male mice. Interestingly, while modest changes in ceramides and sphingoid bases were evident in kidneys from older mice, the most dramatic elevations were seen in long-chain hexosylceramides (HexCer) and lactosylceramides (LacCer), with C14- and C16-lactosylceramides elevated as much as 8 and 12-fold, respectively. Increases in long-chain LacCers dxclusive to the kidney, as they also occur in the liver and brain. Importantly, caloric restriction, previously shown to prevent the declining kidney function seen in aging, inhibits accumulation of long-chain HexCer/LacCers and prevents the age-associated elevation of enzymes involved in their synthesis. Additionally, long-chain LacCers are also significantly elevated in human fibroblasts isolated from elderly individuals. Conclusion/Significance: This study demonstrates accumulation of the glycosphingolipids HexCer and LacCer in several different organs in rodents and humans during aging. In addition, data demonstrate that HexCer and LacCer metabolism is regulated by caloric restriction. Taken together, data suggest that HexCer/LacCers are important mediators of cellular processes fundamental to mammalian aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20411
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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