Distinctive sphingolipid patterns in chronic multiple sclerosis lesions

Maria Podbielska, Zdzislaw M. Szulc, Toshio Ariga, Anna Pokryszko-Dragan, Wojciech Fortuna, Małgorzata Bilinska, Ryszard Podemski, Ewa Jaskiewicz, Ewa Kurowska, Robert K. Yu, Edward L. Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a CNS disease characterized by immune-mediated demyelination and progressive axonal loss. MS-related CNS damage and its clinical course have two main phases: Active and inactive/progressive. Reliable biomarkers are being sought to allow identification of MS pathomechanisms and prediction of its course. The purpose of this study was to identify sphingolipid (SL) species as candidate biomarkers of inflammatory and neurodegenerative processes underlying MS pathology. We performed sphingolipidomic analysis by HPLC-tandem mass spectrometry to determine the lipid profiles in post mortem specimens from the normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) of the normal CNS (nCNS) from subjects with chronic MS (active and inactive lesions) as well as from patients with other neurological diseases. Distinctive SL modification patterns occurred in specimens from MS patients with chronic inactive plaques with respect to NAWM from the nCNS and active MS (Ac-MS) lesions. Chronic inactive MS (In-MS) lesions were characterized by decreased levels of dihydroceramide (dhCer), ceramide (Cer), and SM subspecies, whereas levels of hexosylceramide and Cer 1-phosphate (C1P) subspecies were significantly increased in comparison to NAWM of the nCNS as well as Ac-MS plaques. In contrast, Ac-MS lesions were characterized by a significant increase of major dhCer subspecies in comparison to NAWM of the nCNS. These results suggest the existence of different SL metabolic pathways in the active versus inactive phase within progressive stages of MS. Moreover, they suggest that C1P could be a new biomarker of the In-MS progressive phase, and its detection may help to develop future prognostic and therapeutic strategies for the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1464-1479
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Brain lipids
  • Central nervous system
  • Ceramide 1-phosphate
  • Ceramides
  • Clinical lipidology
  • Inflammation
  • Lipidomics
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurological diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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