Trifluoperazine stimulates the coordinate degradation of sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholine in GH3 pituitary cells
Prior studies demonstrated that 1,2-diacylglycerols stimulated degradation of the choline-containing phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, in GH3 pituitary cells by a phospholipase A2 and a sphingomyelinase, respectively (Kolesnick, R. N. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 16759-16762). The present studies demonstrate that the phenothiazine trifluoperazine also stimulates degradation of these phospholipids. Trifluoperazine (25 microM) reduced phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin levels to 81 and 58% of control, respectively, after 30 min in cells labeled for 48 h with [3H] choline. Choline-containing metabolites were released specifically into the cytosolic fraction. The level of cytosolic phosphocholine, but not choline or CDP-choline, increased to 150% of control. These events were not mediated by inhibition of phosphatidylcholine synthesis. The level of 1,2-diacylglycerols, but not lysophosphatidylcholine or glycerol-3-phosphocholine, also increased. These data are most consistent with phosphatidylcholine degradation via a phospholipase C. Trifluoperazine-stimulated sphingomyelin degradation was accompanied by quantitative generation of ceramides consistent with activation of a sphingomyelinase. In contrast to trifluoperazine, choline-containing metabolites were released into the medium during stimulation by the 1,2-diacylglycerol 1,2-dioctanoyl-glycerol. Although both trifluoperazine and 1,2-dioctanoylglycerol increased ceramide levels, only 1,2-dioctanoylglycerol increased the sphingoid base level from 24 to 43 pmol/10(6) cells. Hence, trifluoperazine appears to deplete an intracellular pool of phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin by a different mechanism than 1,2-diacylglycerols. This is the first report of phenothiazine-induced degradation of choline-containing phospholipids.