, Volume 223, Issue 1-2, pp 47-60

Generation of ceramide in murine macrophages infected with Leishmania donovani alters macrophage signaling events and aids intracellular parasitic survival

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In the present study, we examined the involvement of intracellular ceramide in host pathogen interaction of BALB/c mouse peritoneal macrophages infected with the obligate intracellular protozoan, Leishmania donovani. Our findings indicate that the level of intracellular ceramide was enhanced as a result of the in vitro infection. While the elevated ceramide was largely due to de novo synthesis, activation of the sphingomyelinases was also observed. The enhanced ceramide was responsible for the downregulation of classical PKC activity, upregulation of calcium independent atypical PKC-ζ expression and activity of calcium independent PKC. Ceramide also impaired the phosphorylation of MAPK. Evidently, ceramide suppressed the generation of nitric oxide during leishmanial infection and also facilitated the survival of leishmanial parasites in the intramacrophageal milieu. These data present newer insight to the signaling events in leishmania-infected murine macrophages, which might offer ceramide as a new therapeutic target in the future.