Based on the results of research conducted over last two decades, lysophospholipids (LPLs) were observed to be not only structural components of cellular membranes but also biologically active molecules influencing a broad variety of processes such as carcinogenesis, neurogenesis, immunity, vascular development or regulation of metabolic diseases. With a growing interest in the involvement of extracellular lysophospholipids in both normal physiology and pathology, it has become evident that those small molecules may have therapeutic potential. While lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) have been studied in detail, other LPLs such as lysophosphatidylglycerol (LPG), lysophosphatidylserine (LPS), lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI), lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) or even lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) have not been elucidated to such a high degree. Although information concerning the latter LPLs is sparse as compared to LPA and S1P, within the last couple of years much progress has been made. Recently published data suggest that these compounds may regulate fundamental cellular activities by modulating multiple molecular targets, e.g. by binding to specific receptors and/or altering the structure and fluidity of lipid rafts. Therefore, the present review is devoted to novel bioactive glycerol-based lysophospholipids and recent findings concerning their functions and possible signaling pathways regulating physiological and pathological processes.
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