Objective: Immune complex (IC) deposition activates polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), increases vascular permeability, and leads to organ damage in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. The bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), acting via S1P receptor 1 (S1P1 ), is a key regulator of endothelial cell (EC) barrier function. This study was undertaken to investigate whether augmenting EC integrity via S1P1 signaling attenuates inflammatory injury mediated by ICs.
Methods: In vitro barrier function was assessed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing. Phosphorylation of myosin light chain 2 (p-MLC-2) and VE-cadherin staining in HUVECs were assessed by immunofluorescence. A reverse Arthus reaction (RAR) was induced in the skin and lungs of mice with S1P1 deleted from ECs (S1P1 EC-knockout [ECKO] mice) and mice treated with S1P1 agonists and antagonists.
Results: S1P1 agonists prevented loss of barrier function in HUVECs treated with IC-activated PMNs. S1P1 ECKO and wild-type (WT) mice treated with S1P1 antagonists had amplified RAR, whereas specific S1P1 agonists attenuated skin and lung RAR in WT mice. ApoM-Fc, a novel S1P chaperone, mitigated EC cell barrier dysfunction induced by activated PMNs in vitro and attenuated lung RAR. Expression levels of p-MLC-2 and disruption of VE-cadherin, each representing manifestations of cell contraction and destabilization of adherens junctions, respectively, that were induced by activated PMNs, were markedly reduced by treatment with S1P1 agonists and ApoM-Fc.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that S1P1 signaling in ECs modulates vascular responses to IC deposition. S1P1 agonists and ApoM-Fc enhance the EC barrier, limit leukocyte escape from capillaries, and provide protection against inflammatory injury. The S1P/S1P1 axis is a newly identified target to attenuate tissue responses to IC deposition and mitigate end-organ damage.
© 2018, American College of Rheumatology.