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Circulation. 2012 Jun 5;125(22):2739-50. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.047316. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Tumor necrosis factor-α-mediated downregulation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator drives pathological sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling in a mouse model of heart failure.

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Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) signaling is a central regulator of resistance artery tone. Therefore, S1P levels need to be tightly controlled through the delicate interplay of its generating enzyme sphingosine kinase 1 and its functional antagonist S1P phosphohydrolase-1. The intracellular localization of S1P phosphohydrolase-1 necessitates the import of extracellular S1P into the intracellular compartment before its degradation. The present investigation proposes that the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator transports extracellular S1P and hence modulates microvascular S1P signaling in health and disease.


In cultured murine vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro and isolated murine mesenteric and posterior cerebral resistance arteries ex vivo, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (1) is critical for S1P uptake; (2) modulates S1P-dependent responses; and (3) is downregulated in vitro and in vivo by tumor necrosis factor-α, with significant functional consequences for S1P signaling and vascular tone. In heart failure, tumor necrosis factor-α downregulates the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator across several organs, including the heart, lung, and brain, suggesting that it is a fundamental mechanism with implications for systemic S1P effects.


We identify the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator as a critical regulatory site for S1P signaling; its tumor necrosis factor-α-dependent downregulation in heart failure underlies an enhancement in microvascular tone. This molecular mechanism potentially represents a novel and highly strategic therapeutic target for cardiovascular conditions involving inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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