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Endothelial barrier dysfunction is a hallmark in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) has been proposed to be critically involved in the maintenance of endothelial barrier function predominately by activating S1P receptor-1 (S1P1). Previous studies have shown that the specific S1P1 agonist SEW2871 improves endothelial barrier function under inflammatory conditions. However, the effectiveness of SEW2871 and potential side effects remained largely unexplored in a clinically relevant model of sepsis. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the effects of SEW2871 in the Colon ascendens stent peritonitis (CASP) model.Polymicrobial sepsis was induced in Sprague–Dawley rats using CASP model that enabled the monitoring of macro-hemodynamic parameters. Twelve hours after surgery, animals received either SEW2871 or sodium chloride. Mesenteric endothelial barrier function was evaluated 24 h after sepsis induction by intravital microscopy. Organ pathology was assessed in lungs. S1P levels, blood gas analyses, and blood values were measured at different time points. In parallel the effect of SEW2871 was evaluated in human dermal microvascular endothelial cells.In vitro SEW2871 partially stabilized TNF-α-induced endothelial barrier breakdown. However, in vivo SEW2871 caused severe cardiac side effects in septic animals leading to an increased lethality. Sepsis-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction was not attenuated by SEW2871 as revealed by increased FITC-albumin extra-vasation, requirement of intravasal fluid replacement, and pulmonary edema. Interestingly, Sham-operated animals did not present any side effects after SEW2871 treatment.Our study demonstrates that the application of SEW2871 causes severe cardiac side effects and cannot attenuate the inflammation-induced endothelial barrier breakdown in a clinically relevant sepsis model, suggesting that the time point of administration and the pro-inflammatory milieu play a pivotal role in the therapeutic benefit of SEW2871.