Sphingolipids in COPD.
Sphingolipids are a distinct class of lipid molecules widely found in nature, principally as cell membrane constituents. After initial uncertainty about their function, sphingolipids have been increasingly recognised to be metabolically active entities involved in many biological processes, including the control of inflammation. Their role as mediators of inflammation may have significant implications for a range of lung diseases in which inflammation is a central element of pathogenesis. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a highly prevalent and morbid condition predominantly affecting cigarette smokers, is a prime example of a respiratory illness with an inflammatory component. Understandably, sphingolipids have received growing attention for their increasingly demonstrated role in the pathophysiology of COPD.
The present review aims to be among the first to focus exclusively on the connection between sphingolipids and lung inflammation in COPD, providing the reader with a clinically oriented synopsis of this intriguing association.