Two decades ago, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) was discovered as a novel bioactive molecule that regulates a variety of cellular functions. The plethora of S1P-mediated effects is due to the fact that the sphingolipid not only modulates intracellular functions but also acts as a ligand of G protein-coupled receptors after secretion into the extracellular environment. In the plasma, S1P is found in high concentrations, modulating immune cell trafficking and vascular endothelial integrity. The liver is engaged in modulating the plasma S1P content, as it produces apolipoprotein M, which is a chaperone for the S1P transport. Moreover, the liver plays a substantial role in glucose and lipid homeostasis. A dysfunction of glucose and lipid metabolism is connected with the development of liver diseases such as hepatic insulin resistance, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or liver fibrosis. Recent studies indicate that S1P is involved in liver pathophysiology and contributes to the development of liver diseases. In this review, the current state of knowledge about S1P and its signaling in the liver is summarized with a specific focus on the dysregulation of S1P signaling in obesity-mediated liver diseases. Thus, the modulation of S1P signaling can be considered as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of hepatic diseases.
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