Impact of sphingosine and acetylsphingosines on the aggregation and toxicity of metal-free and metal-treated amyloid-β†
Pathophysiological shifts in the cerebral levels of sphingolipids in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients suggest a link between sphingolipid metabolism and the disease pathology. Sphingosine (SP), a structural backbone of sphingolipids, is an amphiphilic molecule that is able to undergo aggregation into micelles and micellar aggregates. Considering its structural properties and cellular localization, we hypothesized that SP potentially interacts with amyloid-β (Aβ) and metal ions that are found as pathological components in AD-affected brains, with manifesting its reactivity towards metal-free Aβ and metal-bound Aβ (metal–Aβ). Herein, we report, for the first time, that SP is capable of interacting with both Aβ and metal ions and consequently affects the aggregation of metal-free Aβ and metal–Aβ. Moreover, incubation of SP with Aβ in the absence and presence of metal ions results in the aggravation of toxicity induced by metal-free Aβ and metal–Aβ in living cells. As the simplest acyl derivatives of SP, N-acetylsphingosine and 3-O-acetylsphingosine also influence metal-free Aβ and metal–Aβ aggregation to different degrees, compared to SP. Such slight structural modifications of SP neutralize its ability to exacerbate the cytotoxicity triggered by metal-free Aβ and metal–Aβ. Notably, the reactivity of SP and the acetylsphingosines towards metal-free Aβ and metal–Aβ is determined to be dependent on their formation of micelles and micellar aggregates. Our overall studies demonstrate that SP and its derivatives could directly interact with pathological factors in AD and modify their pathogenic properties at concentrations below and above critical aggregation concentrations.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Korean Chemical Society (KCS) and Celebrating 10 years of Chemical Science