Endothelial cell barrier regulation by sphingosine 1-phosphate

Bryan J. McVerry, Joe G.N. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Disruption of vascular barrier integrity markedly increases permeability to fluid and solute and is the central pathophysiologic mechanism of many inflammatory disease processes, including sepsis and acute lung injury (ALI). Dynamic control of the endothelial barrier involves complex signaling to the endothelial cytoskeleton and to adhesion complexes between neighboring cells and between cells and the underlying matrix. Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), a biologically active lipid generated by hydrolysis of membrane lipids in activated platelets, organizes actin into a strong cortical ring and strengthens both intercellular and cell-matrix adherence. The mechanisms by which S1P increases endothelial barrier integrity remain the focus of intense basic research. The downstream structural changes induced by S1P interact to decrease vascular permeability to fluid and solute, which translates into a reduction lung edema formation in animal models of ALI, thus suggesting a potentially life-saving therapeutic role for vascular barrier modulation in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1085
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadherin
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Endothelial permeability
  • Rac GTPase
  • Rho GTPase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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