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J Biol Chem. 2000 Nov 3;275(44):34628-33.

Antiproliferative properties of sphingosine 1-phosphate in human hepatic myofibroblasts. A cyclooxygenase-2 mediated pathway.

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  • 1INSERM U99, Hopital Henri Mondor, Créteil 94010, France.

Abstract

Proliferation of hepatic myofibroblasts (hMF) is central for the development of fibrosis during liver injury, and factors that may limit their growth are potential antifibrotic agents. Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive sphingolipid with growth-regulating properties, either via Edg receptors or through intracellular actions. In this study, we examined the effects of S1P on the proliferation of human hMF. Human hMF expressed mRNAs for the S1P receptors Edg1, Edg3, and Edg5. These receptors were functional at nanomolar concentrations and coupled to pertussis toxin-sensitive and -insensitive G proteins, as demonstrated in guanosine 5'-3-O-(thio)triphosphate binding assays. S1P potently inhibited hMF growth (IC(50) = 1 microm), in a pertussis toxin-insensitive manner. Analysis of the mechanisms involved in growth inhibition revealed that S1P rapidly increased prostaglandin E(2) production and in turn cAMP, two growth inhibitory messengers for hMF; C(2)-ceramide and sphingosine, which inhibited hMF proliferation, did not affect cAMP levels. Production of cAMP by S1P was abolished by NS-398, a selective inhibitor of COX-2. Also, S1P potently induced COX-2 protein expression. Blocking COX-2 by NS-398 blunted the antiproliferative effect of S1P. We conclude that S1P inhibits proliferation of hMF, probably via an intracellular mechanism, through early COX-2-dependent release of prostaglandin E(2) and cAMP, and delayed COX-2 induction. Our results shed light on a novel role for S1P as a growth inhibitory mediator and point out its potential involvement in the negative regulation of liver fibrogenesis.

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