Crossing signals: Bioactive lipids in the microvasculature

Dawid S. Chabowski, Katie E. Cohen, Ossama Abu-Hatoum, David D. Gutterman, Julie K. Freed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The primary function of the arterial microvasculature is to ensure that regional perfusion of blood flow is matched to the needs of the tissue bed. This critical physiological mechanism is tightly controlled and regulated by a variety of vasoactive compounds that are generated and released from the vascular endothelium. Although these substances are required for modulating vascular tone, they also influence the surrounding tissue and have an overall effect on vascular, as well as parenchymal, homeostasis. Bioactive lipids, fatty acid derivatives that exert their effects through signaling pathways, are included in the list of vasoactive compounds that modulate the microvasculature. Although lipids were identified as important vascular messengers over three decades ago, their specific role within the microvascular system is not well defined. Thorough understanding of these pathways and their regulation is not only essential to gain insight into their role in cardiovascular disease but is also important for preventing vascular dysfunction following cancer treatment, a rapidly growing problem in medical oncology. The purpose of this review is to discuss how biologically active lipids, specifically prostanoids, epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, sphingolipids, and lysophospholipids, contribute to vascular function and signaling within the endothelium. Methods for quantifying lipids will be briefly discussed, followed by an overview of the various lipid families. The cross talk in signaling between classes of lipids will be discussed in the context of vascular disease. Finally, the potential clinical implications of these lipid families will be highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1185-H1197
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Microvasculature
  • Prostanoids
  • Sphingolipids
  • Fatty Acids/metabolism
  • Microvessels/metabolism
  • Phospholipids/metabolism
  • Enzyme Assays/methods
  • Signal Transduction
  • Humans
  • Sphingolipids/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Fluorometry/methods
  • Mass Spectrometry/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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