alexa S1P is associated with protection in human and experimental cerebral malaria.


Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology

Author(s): Finney CA

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Cerebral malaria (CM) is associated with excessive inflammatory responses and endothelial activation. Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a signaling sphingolipid implicated in regulating vascular integrity, inflammation and T-cell migration. We hypothesized that altered S1P signaling during malaria contributes to endothelial activation and inflammation, and show that plasma S1P levels were decreased in Ugandan children with CM compared with children with uncomplicated malaria. Using the Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) model of experimental CM (ECM), we demonstrate that humanized S1P lyase (hS1PL)(-/-) mice with reduced S1P lyase activity (resulting in increased bio-available S1P) had improved survival compared with wild-type littermates. Prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of infected mice with compounds that modulate the S1P pathway and are in human trials for other conditions (FTY720 or LX2931) significantly improved survival in ECM. FTY720 treatment improved vascular integrity as indicated by reduced levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM), increased angiopoietin 1 (Ang1) (regulator of endothelial quiescence) levels, and decreased Evans blue dye leakage into brain parenchyma. Furthermore, treatment with FTY720 decreased IFNγ levels in plasma as well as CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell infiltration into the brain. Finally, when administered during infection in combination with artesunate, FTY720 treatment resulted in increased survival to ECM. These findings implicate dysregulation of the S1P pathway in the pathogenesis of human and murine CM and suggest a novel therapeutic strategy to improve clinical outcome in severe malaria.

This article was published in Mol Med. and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology

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