In sepsis, the protection of the vascular endothelium is essential and the maintenance of its function is critical to prevent further deterioration. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)-associated sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid in plasma and its role in sepsis has not been extensively studied. This study aimed to investigate the effects of HDL-S1P on sepsis in cellular and animal models, as well as human plasma samples.
We established an animal model of sepsis with different severities achieved by caecal ligation and puncture (CLP) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection, and then explored the relationship between HDL-S1P and lung endothelial dysfunction in vivo. To determine the effects of HDL-S1P in the pulmonary endothelium of septic rats, we then injected HDL-S1P into septic rats to find out if it can reduce the lung injury caused by sepsis. Further, we explored the mechanism in vitro by studying the role of S1P-specific receptor agonists and inhibitors in LPS-stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We also explored the relationship between plasma HDL-S1P content and sepsis severity in septic patients by analysing their plasma samples.
HDL-S1P concentrations in plasma were negatively correlated with endothelial functional damage in sepsis, both in the animal model and in the septic patients in our study. In vivo, HDL-S1P injection significantly reduced pulmonary oedema and endothelial leakage in septic rats. In vitro, cell experiments showed that HDL-S1P effectively protected the proliferation and migration abilities of endothelial cells, which could be partly explained by its biased activation of the S1P receptor 1.
Our study preliminary explored the function of HDL-S1P in sepsis in cellular and animal models, as well as human subjects. The results indicate HDL-S1P protected endothelial functions in septic patients. Thus, it has therapeutic potential and can be used for the clinical treatment of sepsis.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.