Sphingosine-1-phosphate induces pro-remodelling response in airway smooth muscle cells
ABSTRACT: Background: Increased proliferation of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells leading to hyperplasia and increased ASM mass is one of the most characteristic features of airway remodelling in asthma. A bioactive lipid, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), has been suggested to affect airway remodelling by stimulation of human ASM cell proliferation. Objective: To investigate the effect of S1P on signalling and regulation of gene expression in ASM cells from healthy and asthmatic individuals. Methods: ASM cells grown from bronchial biopsies of healthy and asthmatic individuals were exposed to S1P. Gene expression was analysed using microarray, real-time PCR and western blotting. Receptor signalling and function was determined by mRNA knockdown and intracellular calcium mobilisation experiments. Results: S1P potently regulated the expression of more than 80 genes in human ASM cells, including several genes known to be involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and airway remodelling (HBEGF, TGFB3, TXNIP, PLAUR, SERPINE1, RGS4). S1P acting through S1P2 and S1P3 receptors activated intracellular calcium mobilisation and extracellular signal-regulated and Rho-associated kinases to regulate gene expression. S1P-induced responses were not inhibited by corticosteroids and did not differ significantly between ASM cells from healthy and asthmatic individuals. Conclusion: S1P induces a steroid-resistant, pro-remodelling pathway in ASM cells. Targeting S1P or its receptors could be a novel treatment strategy for inhibiting airway remodelling in asthma. Airway smooth muscle cells from 3 healthy donors were cultured and stimulated for 4 h with sphingosine-1-phosphate (100 nM) or medium control. Total RNA was extracted and analysed using Affymetrix Human Exon 1.0 ST arrays.