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Biochem Pharmacol. 2001 Dec 1;62(11):1433-8.

Dual inhibitors of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase. A new avenue in anti-inflammatory therapy?

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Sezione di Gastroenterologia ed Epatologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università delgi Studi di Perugia, Via E.A del Pozzo, Perugia, Italy.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a mainstay in the treatment of inflammatory disease and are among the most widely used drugs worldwide. They are anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic and are prescribed as first choice for the treatment of rheumatic disorders and, in general, inflammation. The main limitation in using NSAIDs consists in their side-effects, including gastrointestinal ulcerogenic activity and bronchospasm. The mechanism of action of these drugs is attributed to the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX), and, consequently, the conversion of arachidonic acid into prostaglandins. It is hypothesized that the undesirable side-effects of NSAIDs are due to the inhibition of COX-1 (constitutive isoform), whereas the beneficial effects are related to the inhibition of COX-2 (inducible isoform). Arachidonic acid can also be converted to leukotrienes (LTs) by the action of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). LTC(4,) LTD(4,) and LTE(4) are potent bronchoconstrictors, whereas LTB(4) is chemotactic for leukocytes and plays an important role in the development of gastrointestinal ulcers by contributing to the inflammatory process. Thus, developing dual inhibitor compounds that will simultaneously inhibit COX and 5-LOX could enhance their individual anti-inflammatory effects and reduce the undesirable side-effects associated with NSAIDs, especially of the gastrointestinal tract. The most promising COX/5-LOX inhibitor is ML3000 ([2,2-dimethyl-6-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-phenyl-2,3-dihydro-1H-pyrrolizine-5-yl]-acetic acid), now in Phase III clinical trials. This new approach will certainly help to unravel the mechanisms at the root of the undesirable effects of NSAIDs and to develop safer NSAIDs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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