Role of sphingosine kinase and sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor in the liver pathology of mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA.

25 Mar 2022
Techarang T, Jariyapong P, Punsawad C
Decreased serum sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) has been reported in severe malaria patients, but the expression of receptors and enzymes associated with S1P has not been investigated in the liver of malaria patients. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the expression of sphingosine kinase (SphK) and S1P receptors (S1PRs) in the liver of malaria-infected mice. C57BL/6 male mice were divided into a control group (n = 10) and a Plasmodium berghei (PbA)-infected group (n = 10). Mice in the malaria group were intraperitoneally injected with 1×106 P. berghei ANKA-infected red blood cells, whereas control mice were intraperitoneally injected with normal saline. Liver tissues were collected on Day 13 of the experiment to evaluate histopathological changes by hematoxylin and eosin staining and to investigate SphK and S1PR expression by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR. Histological examination of liver tissues from the PbA-infected group revealed sinusoidal dilatation, hemozoin deposition, portal tract inflammation and apoptotic hepatocytes, which were absent in the control group. Immunohistochemical staining showed significant increases in the expression of SphK1 and SphK2 and significant decreases in the expression of S1PR1, S1PR2, and S1PR3 in the endothelium, hepatocytes, and Kupffer cells in liver tissue from the PbA-infected group compared with the control group. Real-time PCR analysis showed the upregulation of SphK1 and the downregulation of S1PR1, S1PR2, and S1PR3 in the liver in the PbA-infected group compared with the control group. In conclusion, this study demonstrates for the first time that SphK1 mRNA expression is upregulated and that S1PR1, S1PR2, and S1PR3 expression is decreased in the liver tissue of PbA-infected mice. Our findings suggest that the decreased levels of S1PR1, S1PR2, and S1PR3 might play an important role in liver injury during malaria infection.