Previous studies have shown that the sphingolipid-derived mediator sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) reduces food intake by activating G protein-coupled S1P receptor-1 (S1PR1) in the hypothalamus. Here, we examined whether feeding regulates hypothalamic mobilization of S1P and other sphingolipid-derived messengers. We prepared lipid extracts from the hypothalamus of C57Bl6/J male mice subjected to one of four conditions: free feeding, 12 h fasting, and 1 h or 6 h refeeding. Liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry was used to quantify various sphingolipid species, including sphinganine (SA), sphingosine (SO), and their bioactive derivatives SA-1-phosphate (SA1P) and S1P. In parallel experiments, transcription of S1PR1 (encoded in mice by the S1pr1
gene) and of key genes of sphingolipid metabolism (Sptlc2
) was measured by RT-PCR. Feeding increased levels of S1P (in pmol-mg−1
of wet tissue) and SA1P. This response was accompanied by parallel changes in SA and dihydroceramide (d18:0/18:0), and was partially (SA1P) or completely (S1P) reversed by fasting. No such effects were observed with other sphingolipid species targeted by our analysis. Feeding also increased transcription of Sptlc2
, and S1pr1
. Feeding stimulates mobilization of endogenous S1PR1 agonists S1P and SA1P in mouse hypothalamus, via a mechanism that involves transcriptional up-regulation of de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis. The results support a role for sphingolipid-mediated signaling in the central control of energy balance.
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