APS Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology

Sweat the Small Stuff: Sphingolipids and Cardiovascular Disease

Symposium — Thursday, April 29, 2021 — 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM — Virtual Session, Room APS-7
Translational Physiology Interest Group — Chair: Julie Kay Freed — Co-Chair: Annarita Di Lorenzo

With advancements in detection and analytical methods for lipids of different species, our understanding of their biological roles in health and disease has opened up new avenues for investigation. It is no surprise that many of these bioactive lipids have been found to affect the function of multiple cell types comprising the vascular system from cells forming the vessel wall (endothelial and smooth muscle) to blood cells (RBCs, WBCs and platelets), all contributing to cardiovascular physiology and pathology. Recently, an important role has been established for sphingolipids, a group most known for ceramide subspecies, sphingosine and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). Numerous translational and clinical studies have established a role for sphingolipids in the pathogenesis of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and other etiological conditions for cardiovascular disease. There are two FDA approved medications targeting the S1P receptors already, with more in later phases of development. This marks an important timestamp for discussions on cutting-edge science of sphingolipid physiology. The symposium will cover the deleterious effects ceramides have on cardiovascular homeostasis, the risk they pose for vascular disease and the targeted treatment potential. The discussion will switch to blood pressure regulation by sphingolipids, in particular S1P, and the part its receptors play in the pathophysiology of hypertension. Finally, the importance of the sphingolipid rheostat will be discussed, followed by novelties in S1P signaling pathway in the human vasculature. By bringing together a prominent group of scientists, spanning both basic and translational research, this symposium presents the discoveries and challenges in the field of sphingolipid physiology, thus laying the foundation for a broader understanding of the complexities of these molecules and their signaling axes in the context of vascular biology as well as where to direct efforts to expand on these findings.


  • Introduction
    Julie Kay Freed — Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin
    10:00 AM - 10:05 AM

  • Sphingolipids: Fine Tuning Cardiovascular Functions

    Annarita Di Lorenzo — Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
    10:05 AM - 10:30 AM

  • Sphingolipids and Human Microvascular Function
    Boran Katunaric — Anestesiolgy, Medical College of Wisconsin
    10:30 AM - 10:55 AM

  • Ceramides and Cardiovascular Risk
    Scott Summers — Nutrition & Integrative Physiology, The University of Utah
    10:55 AM - 11:20 AM

  • Conclusion
    Julie Freed — Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin
    11:20 AM - 11:30 AM

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