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Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Sep;115(3):390-9. Epub 2007 Jun 30.

Sphingosine-1-phosphate in allergic responses, asthma and anaphylaxis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive sphingolipid metabolite involved in many cellular processes, acting not only as an extracellular ligand to its specific G protein-coupled receptors, but also as a putative intracellular messenger with yet unidentified targets. Mast cells are tissue-dwelling pivotal early effectors of allergic responses, which produce and secrete S1P that can bind to its receptors present on mast cells to influence their activation and functions. In this review, we will first discuss the current knowledge of S1P production by two isozymes of sphingosine kinase (SphK). Mechanisms of SphK activation will be discussed, with an emphasis on experimental approaches developed to study their differential activation and biological roles in the context of mast cells. The relevance of mast cells in the etiology of allergic disorders, asthma and anaphylaxis is well established. In this review, this concept will be revisited, focusing on the contribution of S1P production and secretion to the symptoms associated with dysregulated inflammatory responses. To conclude, counteracting the proinflammatory effects of S1P could be envisioned as a therapeutic strategy to treat allergic disorders, exacerbated airway inflammation, and anaphylactic reactions, and various options will be discussed, such as the development of pharmacological tools to inhibit SphKs, S1P neutralizing monoclonal antibody, and S1P receptor antagonists.

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