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Cell Biochem Funct. 2003 Jun;21(2):97-104.

Arachidonic acid cytotoxicity: can arachidonic acid be a physiological mediator of cell death?

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National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-4163, USA.


Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that mediates inflammation and the functioning of several organs and systems either directly or upon its conversion into eicosanoids. However, arachidonic acid is found to be cytotoxic in vitro at concentrations that overlap physiological ones. It is tempting therefore to speculate that arachidonic acid may be a physiological inducer of apoptosis and that such cytotoxic action may be another of its roles in vivo. Nevertheless its pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress-inducing features are characteristic of necrosis and pathological conditions. We hereby review the cytotoxic action of arachidonic acid, indicate the possible pathways that lead to cell death and contemplate the cytotoxic role of arachidonic acid in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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