Blood platelets are very unique in that they store sphingosine 1-phosphate (Sph-1-P) abundantly (possibly due to the existence of highly active sphingosine kinase and a lack of Sph-1-P lyase) and release this bioactive lipid extracellularly upon stimulation. Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) respond dramatically to this platelet-derived bioactive lipid mainly through a family of G protein-coupled Sph-1-P receptors named S1P1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, originally referred to as EDG-1, 5, 3, 6, and 8, respectively. In fact, the importance of Sph-1-P in plateletvascular cell interactions has been revealed in a number of recent reports. Through interaction with ECs, Sph-1-P can mediate physiological wound healing processes such as vascular repair, although this important bioactive lipid can become atherogenic and thrombogenic, and cause or aggravate cardiovascular diseases especially under certain pathological conditions. On the other hand, Sph-1-P induces vasoconstriction through interaction with SMCs. It is likely that regulation of Sph-1-P biological activities is important for the therapeutical purpose to control vascular disorders. Particularly, the development of specific S1P receptor agonists or antagonists seems a reasonable strategy to selectively regulate the bioactivity of Sph-1-P, considering that a great diversity of Sph-1-P actions has been reported and that this diversity depends mainly on the S1P receptor subtype involved. In this review, I will summarize recent findings on possible roles of Sph-1-P in vascular biology and its therapeutical implications.
Angiogenesis, atherosclerosis, drug design, endothelial cell, platelet, smooth muscle cell, sphingosine 1- phosphate, vascular biology
Department of LaboratoryMedicine, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo,Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.