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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Feb;27(2):275-82. Epub 2006 Dec 7.

Sphingosine-1-phosphate stimulates the functional capacity of progenitor cells by activation of the CXCR4-dependent signaling pathway via the S1P3 receptor.

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  • 1Molecular Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Frankfurt, Theodor Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany.



Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid, which influences migration and proliferation of endothelial cells through activation of S1P receptors and has been shown to support SDF-1 induced migration and bone marrow homing of CD34+ progenitors.


Here, we show that incubation of patient-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) with S1P or its synthetic analog FTY720 improved blood flow recovery in ischemic hind limbs. Likewise, recovery of blood flow was dramatically reduced after induction of hindlimb ischemia in mice deficient for the S1P receptor 3 (S1P3). S1P3-/- bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BMCs) failed to augment neovascularization after hind limb ischemia. Of note, treatment of BMCs derived from S1P3-/- mice with S1P did not rescue blood flow recovery. Mechanistically, S1P and FTY720 induced phosphorylation of CXCR4, activated the Src kinase, and stimulated phosphorylation of JAK2. The contribution of CXCR4 for S1P-mediated effects was further supported by the findings that S1P preincubation failed to stimulate invasion capacity and in vivo blood flow recovery of BMCs from CXCR4+/- mice. The activation of CXCR4 was dependent on the Src kinase family as demonstrated by preincubation with the Src inhibitor PP2. The activation of the CXCR4 signaling by S1P is mediated via the S1P3 receptor, since S1P-induced Src phosphorylation was abrogated in EPC from S1P3-/- mice.


S1P agonists might serve as sensitizers of CXCR4-mediated signaling and may be applied in clinical progenitor cell therapy to improve EPC or BMC function in patients with coronary artery disease.

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