Hypertension is considered the major modifiable risk factor for the development of cognitive impairment. Because increased blood pressure is often accompanied by an activation of the immune system, the concept of neuro-inflammation gained increasing attention in the field of hypertension-associated neurodegeneration. Particularly, hypertension-associated elevated circulating T-lymphocyte populations and target organ damage spurred the interest to understanding mechanisms leading to inflammation-associated brain damage during hypertension. The present study describes sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) as major contributor to T-cell chemotaxis to the brain during hypertension-associated neuro-inflammation and cognitive impairment. Using Western blotting, flow cytometry and mass spectrometry approaches, we show that hypertension stimulates a sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1)-dependent increase of cerebral S1P concentrations in a mouse model of angiotensin II (AngII)-induced hypertension. The development of a distinct S1P gradient between circulating blood and brain tissue associates to elevated CD3+ T-cell numbers in the brain. Inhibition of S1P1
-guided T-cell chemotaxis with the S1P receptor modulator FTY720 protects from augmentation of brain CD3 expression and the development of memory deficits in hypertensive WT mice. In conclusion, our data highlight a new approach to the understanding of hypertension-associated inflammation in degenerative processes of the brain during disease progression.
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