Phosphosphingolipids

Phosphosphingolipids are important lipids that function as cellular messengers, enzyme activators, and more.(1,2) Sphingomyelin is found in mammalian cell membranes, especially in the membranes of the myelin sheath and is the most abundant sphingolipid in mammals. An improper ratio of sphingomyelin to ceramide has been shown to be a factor in Niemann-Pick disease and neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. Sphingosylphosphorylethanolamine is analogous to sphingomyelin, containing an ethanolamine rather than a choline head group, and is thought to have similar structural functions. Sphingosylphosphorylcholine has been identified in normal blood plasma, ascites, and various other tissues. It is a bioactive lipid that acts as an intracellular and extracellular signaling molecule in numerous biological processes and activates various signaling cascades. Sphingosine-1-phosphate has important signaling functions both intra- and intercellularly and is present at low concentrations in cells. It can promote cellular division, regulate calcium mobilization and cell growth, and can both inhibit and promote apoptosis. Sphingosine-1-phosphate is involved in regulating the proliferation, survival, differentiation and migration of many types of stem cells, especially in the development of the vascular and nervous systems.

References:

  1. S. Norris et al., "Phospholipid Peroxidation: Lack of Effect of Fatty Acid Pairing" Lipids Vol. 47 pp. 451-460, 2012
  2. M. Schmuth, et al., "Permeability Barrier Disorder in Niemann-Pick Disease: Sphingomyelin-Ceramide Processing Required for Normal Barrier Homeostasis" J Invest Dermatol., Vol. 115(3) pp. 459-466, 2000