Roles for lysophosphatidic acid signaling in vascular development and disease

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2020 Aug;1865(8):158734. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2020.158734. Epub 2020 May 3.


The bioactive lipid lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is emerging as an important mediator of inflammation in cardiovascular diseases. Produced in large part by the secreted lysophospholipase D autotaxin (ATX), LPA acts on a series of G protein-coupled receptors and may have action on atypical receptors such as RAGE to exert potent effects on vascular cells, including the promotion of foam cell formation and phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells. The signaling effects of LPA can be terminated by integral membrane lipid phosphate phosphatases (LPP) that hydrolyze the lipid to receptor inactive products. Human genetic variants in PLPP3, that predict lower levels of LPP3, associate with risk for premature coronary artery disease, and reductions of LPP3 expression in mice promote the development of experimental atherosclerosis and enhance inflammation in the atherosclerotic lesions. Recent evidence also supports a role for ATX, and potentially LPP3, in calcific aortic stenosis. In summary, LPA may be a relevant inflammatory mediator in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and heightened LPA signaling may explain the cardiovascular disease risk effect of PLPP3 variants.

Keywords: Autotaxin; Lipid phosphate phosphatase; Lysophosphatidic acid; Lysophospholipids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Lysophospholipids / chemistry
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase / genetics
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Lysophospholipids
  • PLPP3 protein, human
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase
  • lysophosphatidic acid