Interest in the glycerophosphoinositols has been increasing recently, on the basis of their biological activities. The cellular metabolism of these water-soluble bioactive phosphoinositide metabolites has been clarified, with the identification of the specific enzyme involved in their synthesis, PLA2IVα (phospholipase A2 IVα), and the definition of their phosphodiesterase-based catabolism, and thus inactivation. The functional roles and mechanisms of action of these compounds have been investigated in different cellular contexts. This has led to their definition in the control of various cell functions, such as cell proliferation in the thyroid and actin cytoskeleton organization in fibroblasts and lymphocytes. Roles for the glycerophosphoinositols in immune and inflammatory responses are also being defined. In addition to these physiological functions, the glycerophosphoinositols have potential anti-metastatic activities that should lead to their pharmacological exploitation.

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