In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory mediators extravasate from blood into joints via gaps between endothelial cells (ECs), but the contribution of ECs is not known. Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1), widely expressed on ECs, maintains the vascular barrier. Here, we assessed the contribution of vascular integrity and EC S1PR1 signaling to joint damage in mice exposed to serum-induced arthritis (SIA). EC-specific deletion of S1PR1 or pharmacological blockade of S1PR1 promoted vascular leak and amplified SIA, whereas overexpression of EC S1PR1 or treatment with an S1PR1 agonist delayed SIA. Blockade of EC S1PR1 induced membrane metalloproteinase-dependent cleavage of vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin), a principal adhesion molecule that maintains EC junctional integrity. We identified a disintegrin and a metalloproteinase domain 10 (ADAM10) as the principal VE-cadherin “sheddase.” Mice expressing a stabilized VE-cadherin construct had decreased extravascular VE-cadherin and vascular leakage in response to S1PR1 blockade, and they were protected from SIA. Importantly, patients with active rheumatoid arthritis had decreased circulating S1P and microvascular expression of S1PR1, suggesting a dysregulated S1P/S1PR1 axis favoring vascular permeability and vulnerability. We present a model in which EC S1PR1 signaling maintains homeostatic vascular barrier function by limiting VE-cadherin shedding mediated by ADAM10 and suggest this signaling axis as a therapeutic target in inflammatory arthritis.


Nathalie Burg, Ryan Malpass, Linda Alex, Miles Tran, Eric Englebrecht, Andrew Kuo, Tania Pannelini, Margaret Minett, Kalana Athukorala, Tilla Worgall, Heather J. Faust, Susan Goodman, Bella Mehta, Michael Brenner, Dietmar Vestweber, Kevin Wei, Carl Blobel, Timothy Hla, Jane E. Salmon


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