The sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor, S1PR1, plays a prominent but not exclusive role in enhancing the excitability of sensory neurons

Xian Xuan Chi, G. D. Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) through its interaction with a family of G protein-coupled receptors (S1PR) is proving to have a significant impact on the activation of a variety of cell types, most notably those cells mediating the inflammatory response. Previously, we showed that S1P enhanced the excitability of small diameter sensory neurons, and mRNA for S1PR1-4 was expressed in sensory neurons. These initial findings did not determine which S1PR subtype(s) mediated the increased excitability. Here, we report that exposure to the selective S1PR1 agonist, SEW2871, produced a significant increase in excitability of some, but not all, sensory neurons. To further examine the role of S1PR1, neurons were treated with siRNA targeted to S1PR1. siRNA reduced S1PR1 protein expression by 75% and blocked the sensitization produced by SEW2871, although some neurons remained responsive to subsequent exposure to S1P. Treatment with scramble siRNA did not alter S1PR1 expression. Recordings from siRNA- and scramble-treated neurons suggested three distinct populations based on their sensitivities to SEW2871 and S1P. Approximately 50% of the neurons exhibited a significant increase in excitability after exposure to SEW2871 and subsequent S1P produced no additional increase; ±25% were not affected by SEW2871 but S1P significantly increased excitability; and ±25% of the neurons were not sensitized by either SEW2871 or S1P. RT-PCR measurements obtained from single neurons showed that 50% of the small diameter neurons expressed the mRNA for S1PR1. These results indicate that S1PR1 plays a prominent, although not exclusive, role in mediating the enhancement of excitability produced by S1P.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2741-2748
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

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