Synthetic ceramides induce growth arrest or apoptosis by altering cellular redox status

Darren Charles Phillips, Kirsty Allen, Helen R. Griffiths*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ceramide are each partly responsible for the signal transduction of a variety of extracellular agents. Furthermore, the application of synthetic, short-chain ceramides mimics the cellular responses to these extracellular agents. However, the significance of ROS involvement in ceramide signaling pathways is poorly understood. Here we describe that the (cellular responses to C2-/C6-ceramide of growth arrest in U937 monocytes and apoptosis in Jurkat T-cells are preceded by a rise in mitochondrial peroxide production. In Jurkat T-cells, this is associated with a large time- and dose-dependent loss of cellular glutathione. However, in U937 monocytes, glutathione loss is transient. Differences in the magnitude and kinetics of this alteration in cellular redox state associate with discrete outcomes, namely growth arrest or apoptosis. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • apoptosis
  • ceramide
  • glutathione
  • growth arrest
  • mitochondrial peroxide
  • reactive oxygen species
  • redox state


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