Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) activates its cognate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) LPA(1-3) to exert diverse cellular effects, including cell survival and apoptosis. The potent survival effect of LPA on Schwann cells (SCs) is mediated through the pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive G(i/o)/phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathways and possibly enhanced by the activation of PTX-insensitive Rho-dependent pathways. LPA promotes survival of many other cell types mainly through PTX-sensitive G(i/o) proteins. Paradoxically, LPA also induces apoptosis in certain cells, such as myeloid progenitor cells, hippocampal neurons, and PC12 cells, in which the activation of the Rho-dependent pathways and caspase cascades has been implicated. The effects of LPA on both cell survival and apoptosis underscore important roles for this lipid in normal development and pathological processes.