C2-ceramide as a cell death inducer in HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells

Sung Hak Kim, Sung Chan Kim, Yoon Jung Kho, Sung Wook Kwak, Hong Gu Lee, Seung Kwon You, Jung Hee Woo, Yun Jaie Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ceramide is a lipid mediator in cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in many cell lines. However, the molecular mechanisms for ceramide have not been clarified in HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells. Under phase contrast microscope, C2-ceramide-treated cells clearly showed morphological changes, which were characteristic features of apoptosis. Treatment with C2-ceramide at 10 μM specifically resulted in the death of 50% of the cells after 48 h as assessed by MTT assay. To further investigate which genes contribute to cell death in C2-ceramide-treated cells, we used the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to assess mRNA levels for five genes in the Bcl-2 family and five genes in the caspases family. The steady-state mRNA levels of Bax, Bad and Bak were not significantly changed for 48 h of C2-ceramide treatment. The increases of mRNA levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-w were observed for the first 3 h of C2-ceramide treatment and the last 24 h between 24 and 48 h. We also found that in HC11 cells, C2-ceramide increased mRNA levels of the caspases family from 6 to 24 h. These results suggest that in the HC11 cells, C2-ceramide promote cell death by mediating the induction of caspases and that HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells paradoxically up-regulate the expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-w to prevent C2-ceramide-mediated cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalCancer letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jan


  • Bcl-2 family
  • C2-Ceramide
  • Caspases
  • Cell death
  • HC11 cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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