Sphingosine 1-phosphate induced anti-atherogenic and atheroprotective M2 macrophage polarization through IL-4

Soo-Jin Park, Kyoung-Pil Lee, Saeromi Kang, Jaewon Lee, Koichi Sato, Hae Young Chung, Fumikazu Okajima, Dong-Soon Im
Cellular Signalling 2014, 26 (10): 2249-58
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) has been implicated in anti-atherogenic properties of high-density lipoproteins. However, the roles and signaling of S1P in macrophages, the main contributor to atherosclerosis, have not been well studied. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory M1 and anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage phenotypes may influence the development of atherosclerosis. Therefore, we investigated the effects of S1P on macrophage phenotypes, especially on M2 polarization and its signaling in relation to the anti-atherogenic properties of S1P. It was found that S1P induced anti-inflammatory M2 polarization via IL-4 secretion and its signaling, and induced IL-4Rα and IL-2Rγ. In addition, down-stream signalings, such as, stat-6 phosphorylation, SOCS1 induction, and SOCS3 suppression were also observed in macrophages in response to S1P. Furthermore, S1P-induced ERK activation, and the inhibitions of p38 MAPK and JNK were found to be key signals for IL-4 induction. Moreover, the anti-atherogenic effect of S1P in HDL was confirmed by the observation that oxidized LDL-induced lipid accumulation was attenuated in S1P-treated M2 macrophages. Furthermore, the atheroprotective effect of S1P was demonstrated by its anti-apoptotic effect on S1P-treated macrophages. The present study shows that S1P-induced M2 polarization of macrophages could be mediated via IL-4 signaling, and suggests that M2 polarization by S1P is responsible for the anti-atherogenic and atheroprotective properties of high-density lipoproteins in vivo.

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