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Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a major bioactive lipid mediator in the vascular and immune system. Here, we have shown that inhibition of S1P signaling prevents blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction after ischemia both in vitro and in vivo. In the in vitro BBB models, oxygen-glucose deprivation and reoxygenation (OGD/R) enhanced the expression of an S1P synthesizing enzyme (Sphk1) and S1P transporters (Abca1, Spns2), increasing S1P in culture media. Inhibitors of Sphk1 (SKI-II) or Abca1 (probucol) attenuated the decrease in transendothelial electrical resistance and the increase in permeability caused by OGD/R. In the middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion (MCAO/R) model of mice, probucol administration after MCAO operation reduced the infarction area and vascular leakage, preserving the integrity of tight junction proteins. Furthermore, MCAO/R caused activation of STAT3, a downstream mediator of S1P signaling, which was suppressed by postoperative probucol administration. Accordingly, S1P activated STAT3, both in cultured vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, and STAT3 signaling inhibitor (Stattic) protected BBB dysfunction in OGD/R-treated in vitro BBB models. These results suggest that inhibition of S1P signaling is a strategy to treat BBB impairment after cerebral ischemia and highlight the potential alternative use of probucol, a classical anti-hyperlipidemic drug, for emergency treatment of stroke.


Shinsuke Nakagawa, Jun Aruga. Sphingosine 1-Phosphate Signaling Is Involved in Impaired Blood-Brain Barrier Function in Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury. Molecular neurobiology. 2020 Mar;57(3):1594-1606

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PMID: 31802363

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