Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) contributes to the progression of pulmonary fibrosis through up-regulation of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) as lung myofibroblast differentiation. Bioactive sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) has been shown to mimic TGF-beta signals; however, the function of S1P in lung fibrotic process has not been well documented. We found, in a mouse model of bleomycin lung fibrosis, that SPHK1 and alpha-SMA were colocalized within lung fibrotic foci and that these expressions were significantly increased in primary cultured fibroblasts. Using human lung fibroblasts WI-38, we explored the rationale of sphingosine kinase (SPHK) with TGF-beta1 stimulation. SPHK inhibitors and small interference RNA (siRNA) targeted SPHK1 decreased alpha-SMA and fibronectin expression up-regulated by TGF-beta1. In the meantime, SPHK1 inhibition did not affect smad2 phosphorylation in response to TGF-beta1. Then we examined whether S1P receptors transactivation may affect TGF-beta signals. siRNA against S1P(2) and S1P(3), but not S1P(1), reduced alpha-SMA expression as well as Y-27632, Rho kinase inhibitor. We also detected activation of Rho GTPase upon stimulation of TGF-beta1 on the cell membrane where S1P(2) or S1P(3) was overexpressed. These data suggested that SPHK1 activation by TGF-beta1 leads to Rho-associated myofibroblasts differentiation mediated by transactivated S1P receptors in the lung fibrogenic process.