In many cell types metabolites of sphingomyelin have a profound role in cellular signalling. One particular field where these derivatives have obtained a crucial role is calcium signalling. This is an interesting aspect on how lipids may wield their physiological role, as calcium is probably one of the most versatile signalling molecules in the cell, and modulation of calcium signalling may have profound effects on cellular physiology. In this review we discuss a novel aspect of sphingolipid signalling, i.e. the autocrine role of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) in regulating calcium entry in thyroid cells. Although many investigations have highlighted the importance of S1P as a regulator of both calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum and calcium entry through plasma membrane channels, the autocrine mechanism presented here introduces a new aspect of S1P signalling in thyroid cells. This mechanism may be physiologically relevant in many other cell types, including cancer cells.
© 2011 The Author. Acta Physiologica © 2011 Scandinavian Physiological Society.