Lipids were believed to be the major components of the brain structure. However, recent accumulated findings show that they can also play various roles in the brain, inducing cellular signaling, protecting neuronal cell death, preventing glial activation and even maintaining division of neural stem cells. In the present review, we first summarize physiological roles of brain lipids, then focus on ether-type glycerophospholipids, plasmalogens (Pls) showing recent evidences of how Pls can modulate the cellular signaling in the brain to maintain its integrity and to protect from the glial activation. Finally, we discuss the differential effects of other brain lipids in the glial activation.
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