The molecular pharmacology of the G protein-coupled receptors for sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) provides important insight into established and new therapeutic targets. A new, potent bitopic S1P3 antagonist, SPM-354, with in vivo activity, has been used, together with S1P3-knockin and S1P3-knockout mice to define the spatial and functional properties of S1P3 in regulating cardiac conduction. We show that S1P3 is a key direct regulator of cardiac rhythm both in vivo and in isolated perfused hearts. 2-Amino-2-[2-(4-octylphenyl)ethyl]propane-1,3-diol in vivo and S1P in isolated hearts induced a spectrum of cardiac effects, ranging from sinus bradycardia to complete heart block, as measured by a surface electrocardiogram in anesthetized mice and in volume-conducted Langendorff preparations. The agonist effects on complete heart block are absent in S1P3-knockout mice and are reversed in wild-type mice with SPM-354, as characterized and described here. Homologous knockin of S1P3-mCherry is fully functional pharmacologically and is strongly expressed by immunohistochemistry confocal microscopy in Hyperpolarization Activated Cyclic Nucleotide Gated Potassium Channel 4 (HCN4)-positive atrioventricular node and His-Purkinje fibers, with relative less expression in the HCN4-positive sinoatrial node. In Langendorff studies, at constant pressure, SPM-354 restored sinus rhythm in S1P-induced complete heart block and fully reversed S1P-mediated bradycardia. S1P3 distribution and function in the mouse ventricular cardiac conduction system suggest a direct mechanism for heart block risk that should be further studied in humans. A richer understanding of receptor and ligand usage in the pacemaker cells of the cardiac system is likely to be useful in understanding ventricular conduction in health, disease, and pharmacology.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.