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J Intern Med. 2008 May;263(5):500-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2008.01938.x.

Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 inhibition in cardiovascular inflammatory disease.

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Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Prostaglandins (PGs), particularly PGE2 and prostacyclin (PGI2), are potent mediators of pain and inflammation. Both atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysm exhibit the hallmarks of inflammation. However, randomized trials of inhibitors of PG synthesis--nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs--reveal that they predispose to cardiovascular risk. This appears to be consequent to inhibition of PGI2 and PGE2 formed by cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Inhibitors of microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) are being developed for relief of pain and interest has focused on their potential impact on the cardiovascular system. Deletion of mPGES-1 retards atherogenesis and limits aortic aneurysm formation in hyperlipidaemic mice. However, it does not predispose to thrombogenesis and has a limited impact on blood pressure compared to inhibition of COX-2. This occurs despite the potential of the suppressed PGE2 in affording cardioprotection via its EP2 and EP4 receptors. However, deletion of mPGES-1 permits rediversion of the PGH2 substrate to other PG synthases and augmented formation of PGI2 and PGD2 mitigates this effect. However, increased PGI2 may also attenuate relief of pain. Pain relief seems likely to be a nuanced indication for mPGES-1 inhibitors, but they have therapeutic potential in syndromes of cardiovascular inflammation, cancer and perhaps in neurodegenerative disease. However, as the products of substrate rediversion vary according to cell type, these drugs may have contrasting impact amongst individuals at varied stages of disease evolution.

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