Intestinal subepithelial myofibroblasts (SEMFs) is a specific population of cells involved in intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis via an elaborate network of cytokines, chemokines and other inflammatory factors, including PGE(2). Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) has been implicated as an important mediator of inflammation and cancer and in certain cell types increases cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. In the present study, we aimed to assess involvement of S1P in COX-2 expression by SEMFs. Primary SEMFs were obtained from C57BL/6J mouse and their identity was verified by fluorescent staining of specific marker proteins. Expression of S1P receptors 1, 2, 3 and sphingosine kinases 1 and 2 in SEMFs were determined by RT-PCR analysis. COX-2 expression and PGE(2) production were assayed by Western blotting and ELISA, respectively. COX-2 mRNA stability was assayed by Northern blotting. S1P produced dose-dependent increase in COX-2 expression, resulting in increased PGE(2) release from SEMFs. Using specific inhibitors, we show that actions of p38, ERK, IKK, and PKC were involved in S1P-induced COX-2 expression. On the other hand, p38 and PKC had lesser roles in IL-1beta-induced COX-2 expression. Inhibition of sphingosine kinase to block S1P production did not affect IL-1beta-induced COX-2 expression, but S1P amplified IL-1beta-induced p38 activation and COX-2 expression. PKC inhibition blocked S1P amplified COX-2 expression. S1P addition increased COX-2 mRNA stability. In SEMFs, S1P amplifies IL-1beta-induced COX-2 expression through increased mRNA stability. These observations point to involvement of S1P in activation of SEMFs that may contribute to intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis.