Chronic ethanol consumption profoundly alters regional brain ceramide and sphingomyelin content in rodents

Aurelie Roux, Ludovic Muller, Shelley N. Jackson, Katherine Baldwin, Virginia Womack, John G. Pagiazitis, Joseph R. O'Rourke, Panayotis K. Thanos, Carey Balaban, J. Albert Schultz, Nora D. Volkow, Amina S. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Ceramides (CER) are involved in alcohol-induced neuroinflammation. In a mouse model of chronic alcohol exposure, 16 CER and 18 sphingomyelin (SM) concentrations from whole brain lipid extracts were measured using electrospray mass spectrometry. All 18 CER concentrations in alcohol exposed adults increased significantly (range: 25-607%); in juveniles, 6 CER decreased (range: -9 to -37%). In contrast, only three SM decreased in adult and one increased significantly in juvenile. Next, regional identification at 50 μm spatial resolution from coronal sections was obtained with matrix implanted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MILDI-MSI) by implanting silver nanoparticulate matrices followed by focused laser desorption. Most of the CER and SM quantified in whole brain extracts were detected in MILDI images. Coronal sections from three brain levels show qualitative regional changes in CER-SM ion intensities, as a function of group and brain region, in cortex, striatum, accumbens, habenula, and hippocampus. Highly correlated changes in certain white matter CER-SM pairs occur in regions across all groups, including the hippocampus and the lateral (but not medial) cerebellar cortex of adult mice. Our data provide the first microscale MS evidence of regional lipid intensity variations induced by alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 18 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol
  • Ceramide
  • lipids
  • mass spectrometry imaging
  • matrix implanted laser desorption ionization
  • matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization
  • silver nanoparticles
  • sphingomyelin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic ethanol consumption profoundly alters regional brain ceramide and sphingomyelin content in rodents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this