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FASEB J. 1987 Aug;1(2):89-96.

Inflammation and the mechanism of action of anti-inflammatory drugs.


Inflammation is caused by release of chemicals from tissues and migrating cells. Most strongly implicated are the prostaglandins (PGs), leukotrienes (LTs), histamine, bradykinin, and, more recently, platelet-activating factor (PAF) and interleukin-1. Evidence for their involvement comes from studies with competitive antagonists for their receptors and inhibitors of their synthesis. H1 histamine antagonists are effective for hay fever and some skin allergies such as urticaria, which indicates the importance of histamine in these conditions. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are alleviated by the aspirinlike anti-inflammatory drugs, which inhibit the cyclo-oxygenase enzyme and reduce synthesis of prostanoids. Corticosteroids prevent the formation of both PGs and LTs by causing the release of lipocortin, which by inhibition of phospholipase A2 reduces arachidonic acid release. They suppress the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Currently, high doses of nonsedating H1 antihistamines and PAF antagonists are being tested for the treatment of allergic asthma.

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