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Keywords:

  • immune cells;
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate;
  • T cells

Summary

Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a lipid second messenger that signals via five G protein-coupled receptors (S1P1–5). S1P receptor (S1PR) signalling is associated with a wide variety of physiological processes including lymphocyte biology, their recirculation and determination of T-cell phenotypes. The effect of FTY720 (Fingolimod, Gilenya™) to regulate lymphocyte egress and to ameliorate paralysis in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis led to the use of FTY720 as a first-line oral agent for treatment of relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis. However, a significant body of research suggests that S1P signalling may participate in diverse immune regulatory functions other than lymphocyte trafficking. This review article discusses the current knowledge of S1P signalling in the fate and function of T regulatory, T helper type 17 and memory T cells in health and disease.