Review Article

Emerging roles of sphingosylphosphorylcholine in modulating cardiovascular functions and diseases

Authors: Di Ge1,2, Hong-wei Yue2, Hong-hong Liu2, Jing Zhao2
1 School of Biological Science and Technology, University of Jinan, Jinan 250022, China
2 Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Cells and Developmental Biology, School of Life Science, Shandong University, Jinan 250022, China
Correspondence to: Di Ge: bio_ged@ujn.edu.cn, Jing Zhao: jingzhao@sdu.edu.cn,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-018-0036-4
Received: 13 December 2017
Accepted: 3 May 2018
Advance online: 26 July 2018

Abstract

Sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) is a bioactive sphingolipid in blood plasma that is metabolized from the hydrolysis of the membrane sphingolipid. SPC maintains low levels in the circulation under normal conditions, which makes studying its origin and action difficult. In recent years, however, it has been revealed that SPC may act as a first messenger through G protein-coupled receptors (S1P1-5, GPR12) or membrane lipid rafts, or as a second messenger mediating intracellular Ca2+ release in diverse human organ systems. SPC is a constituent of lipoproteins, and the activation of platelets promotes the release of SPC into blood, both implying a certain effect of SPC in modulating the pathological process of the heart and vessels. A line of evidence indeed confirms that SPC exerts a pronounced influence on the cardiovascular system through modulation of the functions of myocytes, vein endothelial cells, as well as vascular smooth muscle cells. In this review we summarize the current knowledge of the potential roles of SPC in the development of cardiovascular diseases and discuss the possible underlying mechanisms.
Keywords: sphingosylphosphorylcholine; sphingolipid; second messenger; first messenger; G protein-coupled receptor; membrane lipid raft; myocytes; vein endothelial cell; vascular smooth muscle cells

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