Endothelin-1 stimulates small artery VCAM-1 expression through p38MAPK-dependent neutral sphingomyelinase

Jacqueline Ohanian, Simon P. Forman, Gideon Katzenberg, Vasken Ohanian

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Endothelin-1 (ET-1) stimulates vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) expression, a process associated with arterial remodelling. However, the pathways activated by ET-1 that lead to VCAM-1 expression are not fully understood. It is reported that sphingomyelinases are necessary for VCAM-1 expression in response to cytokines. Our aim was to investigate the role of sphingomyelinases in ET-1-induced VCAM-1 expression. Acid and neutral sphingomyelinase activities were measured in extracts from rat mesenteric small arteries (RMSA). ET-1 (1-100 nmol/l) stimulated neutral but not acid sphingomyelinase. The activation was rapid, peaking within 5 min and transient, returning towards baseline by 10 min and inhibited by BQ-788, GW4869 and SB203580, which are inhibitors of ET B receptor, neutral sphingomyelinase and p38MAPK, respectively. Both GW4869 and SB203580 are reported to inhibit activation of neutral sphingomyelinase 2 implicating it in the response to ET-1. Accordingly we investigated the expression of this isoform and found it was present in RMSA, predominantly in endothelial cells. Treatment of RMSA with ET-1 (1-100 nmol/l) for 16 h increased VCAM-1 expression, which was inhibited by GW4869 and SB203580. These results indicate that ET-1 stimulates arterial VCAM-1 expression through p38MAPK-dependent activation of neutral sphingomyelinases. This suggests a role for sphingolipids in ET-1-induced vascular inflammation in cardiovascular disease. © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-362
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Vascular Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


    • Endothelial cells
    • Inflammation
    • Signal transduction
    • Smooth muscle
    • Vascular remodelling


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