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Recent studies demonstrated a role of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in the protection against the stress of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In experiments reported here, we have investigated the signaling through the S1P cascade by FTY720, a sphingolipid drug candidate displaying structural similarity to S1P, underlying the S1P cardioprotective effect. In ex vivo rat heart and isolated sinoatrial node models, FTY720 significantly prevented arrhythmic events associated with I/R injury including premature ventricular beats, VT, and sinus bradycardia as well as A-V conduction block. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis demonstrated the expression of the S1P receptor transcript pools and corresponding proteins including S1P1, S1P2, and S1P3 in tissues dissected from sinoatrial node, atrium and ventricle. FTY720 (25 nM) significantly blunted the depression of the levels of phospho-Pak1 and phospho-Akt with ischemia and with reperfusion. There was a significant increase in phospho-Pak1 levels by 35%, 199%, and 205% after 5, 10, and 15 min of treatment with 25 nM FTY720 compared with control nontreated myocytes. However, there was no significant difference in the levels of total Pak1 expression between nontreated and FTY720 treated. Phospho-Akt levels were increased by 44%, 63%, and 61% after 5, 10, and 15 min of treatment with 25 nM FTY720, respectively. Our data provide the first evidence that FTY720 prevents I/R injury-associated arrhythmias and indicate its potential significance as an important and new agent protecting against I/R injury. Our data also indicate, for the first time, that the cardioprotective effect of FTY720 is likely to involve activation of signaling through the Pak1.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Cell Cardiol

Publication Date





406 - 414


Animals, Animals, Newborn, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Disease Models, Animal, Enzyme Activation, Fingolimod Hydrochloride, Gene Expression Regulation, In Vitro Techniques, Intracellular Space, Male, Pertussis Toxin, Phosphorylation, Propylene Glycols, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Receptors, Lysosphingolipid, Reperfusion Injury, Signal Transduction, Sinoatrial Node, Sphingosine, Time Factors, Ultrasonography, p21-Activated Kinases