- The Japanese Pharmacological Society
- Journal of Pharmacological Sciences (ISSN:13478613)
- vol.124, no.3, pp.307-312, 2014-03-20 (Released:2014-03-18)
The arachidonic acid (AA) cascade is regulated mainly by the actions of two rate-limiting enzymes, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and inducible cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). PLA2 acts to generate AA, which serves as the precursor substrate for COX-2 in the metabolic pathway leading to prostaglandin production. Amongst more than 30 members of the PLA2 family, cytosolic PLA2α (cPLA2α, group IVA) plays a major role in releasing AA from cellular membranes. Sphingolipids are a novel class of bioactive lipids that play key roles in the regulation of several cellular processes including growth, differentiation, inflammatory responses, and apoptosis. Recent studies implicated a regulatory function of sphingolipids in prostaglandin production. Whereas ceramide-1-phosphate and lactosylceramide activate cPLA2α directly, sphingosine-1-phosphate induces COX-2 expression. Sphingomyelin has been shown to inhibit the activity of cPLA2α. In addition, several sphingolipid analogs including a therapeutic agent currently used clinically are also reported to be inhibitors of cPLA2α. This review explores the role of sphingolipids in the regulation of cPLA2α and COX-2.