Requirement for sphingosine kinase 1 in mediating phase 1 of the hypotensive response to anandamide in the anaesthetised mouse

Greig, Fiona H. and Nader, Katrin and Ballantyne, Margaret D. and Kazi, Zeshan H. and Alganga, Husam and Ewart, Marie-Ann and Zaborska, Karolina E. and Fertig, Bracy and Pyne, Nigel J. and Pyne, Susan and Kennedy, Simon (2019) Requirement for sphingosine kinase 1 in mediating phase 1 of the hypotensive response to anandamide in the anaesthetised mouse. European Journal of Pharmacology, 842. pp. 1-9. ISSN 0014-2999 (

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In the isolated rat carotid artery, the endocannabinoid anandamide induces endothelium-dependent relaxation via activation of the enzyme sphingosine kinase (SK). This generates sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) which can be released from the cell and activates S1P receptors on the endothelium. In anaesthetised mice, anandamide has a well-characterised triphasic effect on blood pressure but the contribution of SK and S1P receptors in mediating changes in blood pressure has never been studied. Therefore, we assessed this in the current study. The peak hypotensive response to 1 and 10 mg/kg anandamide was measured in control C57BL/6 mice and in mice pretreated with selective inhibitors of SK1 (BML-258, also known as SK1-I) or SK2 ((R)-FTY720 methylether (ROMe), a dual SK1/2 inhibitor (SKi) or an S1P1 receptor antagonist (W146). Vasodilator responses to S1P were also studied in isolated mouse aortic rings. The hypotensive response to anandamide was significantly attenuated by BML-258 but not by ROMe. Antagonising S1P1 receptors with W146 completely blocked the fall in systolic but not diastolic blood pressure in response to anandamide. S1P induced vasodilation in denuded aortic rings was blocked by W146 but caused no vasodilation in endothelium-intact rings. This study provides evidence that the SK1/S1P regulatory-axis is necessary for the rapid hypotension induced by anandamide. Generation of S1P in response to anandamide likely activates S1P1 to reduce total peripheral resistance and lower mean arterial pressure. These findings have important implications in our understanding of the hypotensive and cardiovascular actions of cannabinoids.


Greig, Fiona H., Nader, Katrin, Ballantyne, Margaret D., Kazi, Zeshan H., Alganga, Husam, Ewart, Marie-Ann, Zaborska, Karolina E., Fertig, Bracy, Pyne, Nigel J. ORCID logoORCID:, Pyne, Susan ORCID logoORCID: and Kennedy, Simon;