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February 21, 2017
Sphingosine 1-phosphate signaling axis mediates fibroblast growth factor 2-induced proliferation and survival of murine auditory neuroblasts.

Bruno M, Rizzo IM, Romero-Guevara R, Bernacchioni C, Cencetti F, Donati C, Bruni P. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017 Feb 7. [Epub ahead of print]. pii: S0167-4889(17)30029-0. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2017.02.004.


Hearing loss affects millions of people in the world. In mammals the auditory system comprises diverse cell types which are terminally differentiated and with no regenerative potential. There is a tremendous research interest aimed at identifying cell therapy based solutions or pharmacological approaches that could be applied therapeutically alongside auditory devices to prevent hair cell and neuron loss.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a pleiotropic bioactive sphingolipid that plays key role in the regulation of many physiological and pathological functions. S1P is intracellularly produced by sphingosine kinase (SK) 1 and SK2 and exerts many of its action consequently to its ligation to S1P specific receptors (S1PR), S1P1-5. In this study, murine auditory neuroblasts named US/VOT-N33 have been used as progenitors of neurons of the spiral ganglion. We demonstrated that the fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2)- induced proliferative action was dependent on SK1, SK2 as well as S1P1 and S1P2. Moreover, the pro-survival effect of FGF2 from apoptotic cell death induced by staurosporine treatment was dependent on SK but not on S1PR. Additionally, the ERK1/2 and Akt signaling pathways were found to mediate the mitogenic and survival action of FGF2, respectively.
Taken together, these findings demonstrate a crucial role for S1P signaling axis in the proliferation and the survival of otic vesicle neuroprogenitors, highlighting the identification of possible novel therapeutical approaches to prevent neuronal degeneration during hearing loss.