Toxicity of oxidized phosphatidylcholines in cultured human melanoma cells

Claudia Ramprecht, Hannah Jaritz , I. Streith , Elfriede Zenzmaier, H. Köfeler, Rainer Hofmann-Wellenhof , H. Schaider , Albin Hermetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The oxidized phospholipids (oxPL) 1-palmitoyl-2-glutaroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PGPC) and 1-palmitoyl-2-(5-oxovaleroyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POVPC) are generated from 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-phosphatidylcholine under conditions of oxidative stress. These oxPL are components of oxidized low density lipoprotein. They are cytotoxic in cells of the arterial wall thus playing an important role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. The toxic lipid effects include inflammation and under sustained exposure apoptosis. The aim of this study was to find out whether such toxic effects, especially apoptosis, are also elicited by oxPL in melanocytic cells in order to assess their potential for therapeutic intervention.

FACS analysis after staining with fluorescent markers was performed to identify the mode of lipid-induced cell death. Activation of sphingomyelinase which generates apoptotic ceramide was measured using an established fluorescence assay. Ceramide profiles were determined by mass spectrometry.

We found that 50 μM POVPC induce cell death in human melanoma cells isolated from different stages of tumor progression but affect primary human melanocytes to a much lesser extent. In contrast, 50 μM PGPC was only apoptotic in two out of four cell lines used in this study. The toxicity of both compounds was associated with efficient lipid uptake into the tumor cells and activation of acid sphingomyelinase. In several but not all melanoma cell lines used in this study, activation of the sphingomyelin degrading enzyme correlated with an increase in the concentration of the apoptotic mediator ceramide. The individual patterns of the newly formed ceramide species were also cell line-specific.

PGPC and POVPC may be considered potential drug candidates for topical skin cancer treatment. They are toxic in malignant cells. The respective oxidized phospholipids are naturally formed in the body and resistance to these compounds is not likely to occur.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


Dive into the research topics of 'Toxicity of oxidized phosphatidylcholines in cultured human melanoma cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this