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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009 Apr;296(4):H1193-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01032.2008. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

Sphingolipid signaling and treatment during remodeling of the uninfarcted ventricular wall after myocardial infarction.

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Cardiothoracic Surgery, 4150 Clement St., 112D, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.


The sphingosine kinase (SphK)/sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) pathway, known to determine the fate and growth of various cell types, can enhance cardiac myocyte survival in vitro and provide cardioprotection in acute ex vivo heart preparations. However, the relevance of these findings to chronic cardiac pathology has never been demonstrated. We hypothesized that S1P signaling is impaired during chronic remodeling of the uninfarcted ventricle during the evolution of post-myocardial infarction (MI) cardiomyopathy and that a therapeutic enhancement of S1P signaling would ameliorate ventricular dysfunction. SphK expression and activity were measured in the remote, uninfarcted myocardium (RM) of C57Bl/6 mice subjected to coronary artery ligation. The mRNA expression of S1P receptor isoforms was also measured, as was the activation of the downstream S1P receptor mediators. A cardioprotective role for S1P(1) receptor agonism was tested via the administration of the S1P(1)-selective agonist SEW2871 during and after MI. As a result, the expression data suggested that a dramatic reduction in SphK activity in the RM early after MI may reflect a combination of posttranscriptional and posttranslational modulation. SphK activity continued to decline gradually during chronic post-MI remodeling, when S1P(1) receptor mRNA also fell below baseline. The S1P(1)-specific agonism with oral SEW2871 during the first 2-wk after MI reduced apoptosis in the RM and resulted in improved myocardial function, as reflected in the echocardiographic measurement of fractional shortening. In conclusion, these results provide the first documentation of alterations in S1P-mediated signaling during the in situ development of cardiomyopathy and suggest a possible therapeutic role for the pharmacological S1P receptor agonism in the post-MI heart.

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