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Circ Res. 2001 Nov 23;89(11):957-68.

Sphingolipid mediators in cardiovascular cell biology and pathology.

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INSERM U466, CHU Rangueil, Toulouse, France.


Sphingolipids have emerged as a new class of lipid mediators. In response to various extracellular stimuli, sphingolipid turnover can be stimulated in vascular cells and cardiac myocytes. Subsequent generation of sphingolipid molecules such as ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine-1-phosphate, is followed by regulation of ion fluxes and activation of various signaling pathways leading to smooth muscle cell proliferation, endothelial cell differentiation or apoptotic cell death, cell contraction, retraction, or migration. The importance of sphingolipids in cardiovascular signaling is illustrated by recent observations implicating them in physiological processes such as vasculogenesis as well as in frequent pathological conditions, including atherosclerosis and its complications.

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