Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Prostanoids are unsaturated cyclic fatty acids, are synthesized primarily from arachidonic acid, and, like the leukotrienes, belong to the growing family of eicosanoids. As tissue hormones, prostanoids act on specific receptors near their site of synthesis and degradation. Prostanoids operate as modulators and mediators in a large spectrum of physiological processes. They are involved in the regulation of maternal and fetal circulation, patency of the ductus arteriosus, plateletvessel wall interaction and kidney function. Besides their physiological function in protecting organ perfusion under stress conditions, they are also involved in diseases as described in the hyperprostaglandin E2-syndrome or — together with leukotrienes-in inflammatory processes. More specific pharmacological tools than the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, such as receptor antagonists, selective synthesis inhibitors, and eicosanoid analogues offer the prospect of enriching our arsenal of pharmacotherapeutic interventions in a variety of diseases. Before active intervention, however, more and specific biochemical analyses are required to identify the pathophysiological role of eicosanoid.
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