Sphingosine-1-phosphate is involved in the occlusive arteriopathy of pulmonary arterial hypertension

PVRI Member Authors: Salina Gairhe, Sachindra Joshi, Ivan McMurtry


Despite several advances in the pathobiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), its pathogenesis is not completely understood. Current therapy improves symptoms but has disappointing effects on survival. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a lysophospholipid synthesized by sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) and SphK2. Considering the regulatory roles of S1P in several tissues leading to vasoconstriction, inflammation, proliferation, and fibrosis, we investigated whether S1P plays a role in the pathogenesis of PAH. To test this hypothesis, we used plasma samples and lung tissue from patients with idiopathic PAH (IPAH) and the Sugen5416/hypoxia/normoxia rat model of occlusive PAH. Our study revealed an increase in the plasma concentration of S1P in patients with IPAH and in early and late stages of PAH in rats. We observed increased expression of both SphK1 and SphK2 in the remodeled pulmonary arteries of patients with IPAH and PAH rats. Exogenous S1P stimulated the proliferation of cultured rat pulmonary arterial endothelial and smooth-muscle cells. We also found that 3 weeks of treatment of late-stage PAH rats with an SphK1 inhibitor reduced the increased plasma levels of S1P and the occlusive pulmonary arteriopathy. Although inhibition of SphK1 improved cardiac index and the total pulmonary artery resistance index, it did not reduce right ventricular systolic pressure or right ventricular hypertrophy. Our study supports that S1P is involved in the pathogenesis of occlusive arteriopathy in PAH and provides further evidence that S1P signaling may be a novel therapeutic target.

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Pulmonary Hypertension


Salina Gairhe, Sachindra R. Joshi, Mrigendra M. Bastola, Jared M. McLendon, Masahiko Oka, Karen A. Fagan, Ivan F. McMurtry

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 6: No 3 cover image

September 2016

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 6: No 3

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