Factor associated with neutral sphingomyelinase activation and its role in cardiac cell death

Nicole W. O'Brien, Nicole M. Gellings, Mei Guo, Steven B. Barlow, Christopher C. Glembotski, Roger A. Sabbadini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Generation of proapoptotic sphingolipids by neutral sphingomyelinase activation is an early response to hypoxia/reoxygenation (HR) in cardiomyocytes. Factor associated with neutral sphingomyelinase activation (FAN) mediates activation of sphingomyelinase and subsequent apoptosis. However, the participation of FAN in HR-induced cardiomyocyte cell death has not been elucidated. We therefore investigated the expression and role of FAN in rat cardiomyocytes. A cDNA was isolated from rat heart encoding putative rat FAN. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, immunoelectron microscopy, and immunofluorescence demonstrated for the first time the expression of FAN specifically in rat cardiomyocytes. FAN expression was confirmed by the finding that expression of a dominant-negative FAN almost completely abrogated HR-induced cell death, whereas overexpression of wild-type FAN led to an increase. Treatment of FAN and dominant-negative FAN-expressing cells with C2-ceramide produced substantial cell death, indicating dominant-negative FAN exerts its protective action by interfering with the activation of the sphingolipid cascade. Taking these results together, we conclude that FAN is a previously undescribed and important HR signaling component in the heart and that inhibition of FAN may provide a novel intervention point for reducing ischemia/reperfusion injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-591
Number of pages3
JournalCirculation research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 4 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • FAN
  • Hypoxia
  • Sphingomyelinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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