Background: Dietary sphingolipids have various biofunctions, including skin barrier improvement and anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinoma properties. Long-chain bases (LCBs), the essential backbones of sphingolipids, are expected to be important for these bioactivities, and they vary structurally between species. Given these findings, however, the absorption dynamics of each LCB remain unclear.
Methods: In this study, five structurally different LCBs were prepared from glucosylceramides (GlcCers) with LCB 18:2(4E,8Z);2OH and LCB 18:2(4E,8E);2OH moieties derived from konjac tuber (Amorphophallus konjac), from GlcCers with an LCB 18(9Me):2(4E,8E);2OH moiety derived from Tamogi mushroom (Pleurotus cornucopiae var. citrinopileatus), and from ceramide 2-aminoethyphosphonate with LCB 18:3(4E,8E,10E);2OH moiety and LCB 18(9Me):3(4E,8E,10E);2OH moiety derived from giant scallop (Mizuhopecten yessoensis), and their absorption percentages and metabolite levels were analyzed using a lymph-duct-cannulated rat model via liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) with a multistage fragmentation method.
Results: The five orally administered LCBs were absorbed and detected in chyle (lipid-containing lymph) as LCBs and several metabolites including ceramides, hexosylceramides, and sphingomyelins. The absorption percentages of LCBs were 0.10-1.17%, depending on their structure. The absorption percentage of LCB 18:2(4E,8Z);2OH was the highest (1.17%), whereas that of LCB 18:3(4E,8E,10E);2OH was the lowest (0.10%). The amount of sphingomyelin with an LCB 18:2(4E,8Z);2OH moiety in chyle was particularly higher than sphingomyelins with other LCB moieties.
Conclusions: Structural differences among LCBs, particularly geometric isomerism at the C8-C9 position, significantly affected the absorption percentages and ratio of metabolites. This is the first report to elucidate that the absorption and metabolism of sphingolipids are dependent on their LCB structure. These results could be used to develop functional foods that are more readily absorbed.
Keywords: Lipid metabolism; Lipidomics; Long-chain base; Lymphatic absorption; Sphingolipids; Sphingomyelin.