Endothelial Lipase Is a Critical Determinant of High-Density Lipoprotein–Stimulated Sphingosine 1-Phosphate–Dependent Signaling in Vascular Endothelium

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In addition to an extensively characterized role of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in reverse cholesterol transport, bioactive lipids bound to HDL can also exert diverse vascular effects. Despite this, integration of HDL action in the vasculature with pathways that metabolize HDL and release bioactive lipids has been much less explored. The effects of HDL on endothelial cells are mediated in part by HDL-associated sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), which binds to S1P1 receptors and promotes activation of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and the kinase Akt. In these studies, we characterized the role of endothelial lipase (EL) in the control of endothelial signaling and biology, including those mediated by HDL-associated S1P.

Approach and Results—

HDL-induced angiogenesis in aortic rings from EL-deficient (EL−/−) mice was markedly decreased compared with wild-type controls. In cultured endothelial cells, small interfering RNA–mediated knockdown of EL abrogated HDL-promoted endothelial cell migration and tube formation. Small interfering RNA–mediated EL knockdown also attenuated HDL-induced phosphorylation of eNOS1179 and Akt473. S1P stimulation restored HDL-induced endothelial migration and Akt/eNOS phosphorylation that had been blocked by small interfering RNA–mediated EL knockdown. HDL-induced endothelial cell migration and Akt/eNOS phosphorylation were completely inhibited by the S1P1 antagonist W146 but not by the S1P3 antagonist CAY10444.


EL is a critical determinant of the effects of HDL on S1P-mediated vascular responses and acts on HDL to promote activation of S1P1, leading to Akt/eNOS phosphorylation and subsequent endothelial migration and angiogenesis. The role of EL in HDL-associated S1P effects provides new insights into EL action, the responses seen through EL and HDL interaction, and S1P signaling.

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