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Emerging Roles for Lysophospholipid Mediators in Pregnancy



Recent progress in lipid research has unveiled new biologic roles for lysophospholipids as mediators of intercellular signaling. Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) are representative lysophospholipids. Accumulating evidence suggests that, acting as intercellular mediators, these and other lysophospholipids may play important roles in physiological and pathological situations. This review discusses the possible involvement of LPA and S1P in reproductive processes, with a focus on the regulatory mechanisms of pregnancy maintenance. As LPA promotes prostaglandin synthesis, mediators in the LPA pathway may also play a significant role in implantation and parturition. S1P signaling is thought to be essential in vascular formation within the uteroplacental unit and in fetomaternal immunologic interactions. Derangements in either one of these lysophospholipid signaling pathways could result in pregnancy complications that may include implantation failure, preeclampsia, and preterm labor.