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Sphingosine 1-phosphate attenuates peroxide-induced apoptosis in HaCaT cells cultured in vitro


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Correspondence: Dr Tetsuya Moriue, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-Cho, Kita-Gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan




Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a sphingolipid mediator that elicits a wide array of physiological responses in various types of mammalian cells. Among the numerous biological activities elicited by S1P is protection from apoptotic cell death, which seems to take place through the cell-surface S1P receptor and the downstream phosphoinositide 3′-OH kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathway. It is unclear whether and how S1P protects human keratinocytes from hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced apoptosis.


We investigated the effects of S1P on apoptotic cell death in HaCaT cells, spontaneously immortalized human keratinocytes.


HaCaT cells were treated with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) 1–2 mmol/L as an inducer of apoptosis. Cellular apoptosis was assessed with terminal dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL), WST-8 and immunoblot assays.


In WST-8 and TUNEL assays, S1P pretreatment (1 μmol/L for 30 min) attenuated H2O2-induced cell death. Promotion of the cleavage of caspase-3 by H2O2 was markedly attenuated when cells had been preincubated with S1P. S1P markedly potentiated phosphorylation (activation) of Akt in the presence of H2O2. Wortmannin, a selective inhibitor of the PI3-K/Akt pathway, significantly suppressed S1P-induced attenuation of caspase-3 cleavage promoted by H2O2.


S1P, a sphingolipid mediator, attenuates H2O2-induced apoptosis of HaCaT cells, by promoting phosphorylation of the Akt pathway.