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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Nov;1773(11):1605-18. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

Regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 expression by cyclic AMP.

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Department of Biochemistry, ALTANA Pharma, D-78467 Konstanz, Germany.


Prostaglandins (PG) regulate many biological processes, among others inflammatory reactions. Cyclooxygenases-1 and -2 (COX-1 and COX-2) catalyse PG synthesis. Since this step is rate limiting, the regulation of COX expression is of critical importance to PG biology. Contrary to COX-1, which is constitutively expressed, COX-2 expression is subject to regulation. For example, COX-2 levels are increased in inflammatory reactions. Many signalling pathways can regulate COX-2 expression, not least those involving receptors for COX products themselves. Analysis of the intracellular signal transducers involved reveals a crucial role for cAMP, albeit as a modulator rather than direct inducer. Indeed, the influence of cAMP on COX-2 expression is complex and dependent on the cell type and cellular environment. This review aims to summarise various topics related to cAMP-dependent COX-2 expression. Firstly, the main aspects of COX-2 regulation are briefly considered. Secondly, the molecular basis for COX-2 gene (post)-transcriptional regulation is reviewed. Lastly, a detailed overview of the effects of cAMP-dependent signalling on COX-2 mRNA and protein expression in various human and rodent cells is provided. There is a large number of marketed, clinical and preclinical concepts promoting the elevation of intracellular cAMP levels for therapeutic purposes (e.g., beta(2)-agonists, PG receptor agonists, phosphodiesterase inhibitors). In this respect, the role of cAMP in the regulation of COX-2 expression, especially the human enzyme, is of significant clinical importance.

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