Sphingosine-1-phosphate acts as a key molecule in the direct mediation of renal fibrosis

Shunji Shiohira, Takumi Yoshida, Hidekazu Sugiura, Miki Nishida, Kosaku Nitta, Ken Tsuchiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The major sphingolipid metabolite, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), has important biological functions. S1P serves as a ligand for a family of five G-protein-coupled receptors with distinct signaling pathways regulating important biological pathways. S1P induces renal fibrosis through an inflammatory pathway. However, its direct fibrosis-inducing effect on the kidney has not been shown. The role of S1P as a direct mediator of renal fibrosis was investigated in normal rat kidney interstitial fibroblast (NRK-49F) cells (in vitro) and kidneys of a unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) mouse model (in vivo). To clarify the role of S1P in renal fibrosis, we adopted nude UUO mice with immune response deficits. NRK-49F cells were stimulated with various concentrations of exogenous S1P and FTY720 (a S1P receptor agonist) or N,N-dimethylsphingosine (DMS; a sphingosine kinase inhibitor). C57BL6 and nude UUO mice were pretreated with FTY720, DMS, or saline. Expression levels of alpha-smooth muscle actin (a-SMA), E-cadherin, collagen type 1 (COL1), collagen type 4 (COL4), tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP1), and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI1) were examined. S1P stimulated fibrosis in NRK-49F cells and UUO mice. Increased a-SMA, COL1, COL4, TIMP1, and PAI1 and decreased E-cadherin expression levels were observed in both the S1P-stimulated cells and UUO mice. Nude UUO mouse kidneys expressed fibrotic markers. Fibrotic changes were successfully induced in both UUO and nude UUO mice, evident through prominent fibronectin and COL1 staining. These S1P-induced fibrotic changes were suppressed by FTY720 and DMS both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, S1P essentially and directly mediates renal fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00172
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • DMS
  • FTY720
  • Renal fibrosis
  • Sphingosine-1-phosphate
  • UUO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Sphingosine-1-phosphate acts as a key molecule in the direct mediation of renal fibrosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this