Bioactive lipid mediators are increasingly being recognized as important endogenous regulators of cell activation, signaling, apoptosis and proliferation. Most of these lipid mediators are originated from cleavage of constituents of cellular membranes under the activity of phospholipases and sphingomyelinases. One of the major cascades of bioactive lipid mediator production involves the release of arachidonic acid from membrane phospholipids followed by the formation of eicosanoids (i.e. prostaglandins, leukotrienes and lipoxins). These biologically active metabolites of arachidonic acid are emerging as key regulators of cell proliferation and neo-angiogenesis and agents that specifically target these lipid mediators are being investigated as potential anticancer drugs. On the other hand, the lysophospholipid family, which includes members of the sphingomyelin-ceramide-sphingosine-1-phosphate and lysophosphatidic acid subfamilies, has evolved as an important group of lipid signaling molecules implicated in cellular differentiation, cell growth and apoptosis. This article reviews the most recent patents in this field of research, covering the following strategies based on the modulation of bioactive lipid mediators: (1) prostaglandin H synthase-2 inhibitors, (2) lipoxin analogs and aspirin-triggered lipid mediators, and (3) lysophosphatidic acid and other lysophospholipids.
Keywords: Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, lipoxins, lysophospholipids, cell proliferation, apoptosis
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