Targeting the sphingosine kinase/sphingosine 1-phosphate pathway to treat chronic inflammatory kidney diseases

Schwalm, Stephanie; Pfeilschifter, Josef; Huwiler, Andrea (2014). Targeting the sphingosine kinase/sphingosine 1-phosphate pathway to treat chronic inflammatory kidney diseases. Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, 1(114), pp. 44-49. Wiley 10.1111/bcpt.12103

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Chronic kidney diseases including glomerulonephritis are often accompanied by acute or chronic inflammation that leads to an increase in extracellular matrix (ECM) production and subsequent glomerulosclerosis. Glomerulonephritis is one of the leading causes for end-stage renal failure with high morbidity and mortality, and there are still only a limited number of drugs for treatment available. In this MiniReview, we discuss the possibility of targeting sphingolipids, specifically the sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) pathway, as new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of glomerulonephritis, as this pathway was demonstrated to be dysregulated under disease conditions. Sphingosine 1-phosphate is a multifunctional signalling molecule, which was shown to influence several hallmarks of glomerulonephritis including mesangial cell proliferation, renal inflammation and fibrosis. Most importantly, the site of action of S1P determines the final effect on disease progression. Concerning renal fibrosis, extracellular S1P acts pro-fibrotic via activation of cell surface S1P receptors, whereas intracellular S1P was shown to attenuate the fibrotic response. Interference with S1P signalling by treatment with FTY720, an S1P receptor modulator, resulted in beneficial effects in various animal models of chronic kidney diseases. Also, sonepcizumab, a monoclonal anti-S1P antibody that neutralizes extracellular S1P, and a S1P-degrading recombinant S1P lyase are promising new strategies for the treatment of glomerulonephritis. In summary, especially due to the bifunctionality of S1P, the SphK1/S1P pathway provides multiple target sites for the treatment of chronic kidney diseases.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology

UniBE Contributor:

Huwiler, Andrea


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Aniko Krebs

Date Deposited:

17 Jul 2014 16:08

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2015 11:24

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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