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Endothelial sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 deficiency exacerbates brain injury and blood brain barrier dysfunction upon subarachnoid hemorrhage in mice

By Akira Ito, Hiroki Uchida, Gab Seok Kim, Giuseppe Faraco, Richard Proia, Kuniyasu Niizuma, Teiji Tominaga, Josef Anrather, Costantino Iadecola, Michael J Kluk, Teresa Sanchez

Posted 28 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/357236

Blood brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction upon ischemia and hypoxia has been implicated in the exacerbation of neuronal injury in stroke. Despite the therapeutic potential of the cerebrovascular endothelium, the limited understanding of the endothelial signaling pathways governing BBB function restricts progress towards developing novel therapeutic approaches specifically targeting the endothelium. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a potent modulator of endothelial function via its receptors (S1PR). Recent human and mouse studies indicate that vasoprotective endothelial S1P signaling via S1PR1 may be impaired in cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. Herein, we investigated the expression of S1PR1 in the mouse and human cerebrovascular endothelium and the role of endothelial-specific S1PR1 signaling in brain injury in a mouse model of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), the most devastating type of stroke. We found that S1PR1 is the most abundant S1PR transcript in the mouse brain and in mouse and human brain endothelial cells (20-100 mRNA copies per cell). S1PR1 transcripts were significantly enriched (~6 fold) in mouse cortical microvessels compared to total brain. Using the S1PR1-eGFP knock in mouse, we found that S1PR1-eGFP is abundantly expressed in the cerebrovascular endothelium in the mouse brain. A similar pattern of expression was observed in human brain samples. Endothelial specific deletion of S1PR1 in adult mice ( S1pr1 flox/floxxCdh5-CreERT2 , referred to as S1pr1iECKO ), resulted in exacerbation of brain edema, neuronal injury and worsened neurological outcomes upon SAH compared to S1pr1 flox/flox littermates. No differences in the subarachnoid blood, hemostasis or cerebral blood flow changes during and after SAH were found between groups. Mechanistically, S1pr1iECKO exhibited aggravated BBB dysfunction and increased phosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC) in isolated cortical microvessels, a downstream effector of the Rho-ROCK pathway implicated in endothelial inflammation and barrier dysfunction. Taken together, our data indicate that S1PR1 is an endogenous protective signaling pathway in the endothelium, critical to maintain BBB function and to mitigate neuronal injury in pathological conditions. Thus, the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of the endothelial sphingosine-1-phosphate pathway in stroke deserves further study.

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