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J Lipid Res. 2009 Apr;50 Suppl:S29-34. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R800042-JLR200. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

Cyclooxygenases: structural and functional insights.

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A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Center in Molecular Toxicology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-0146, USA.


Cyclooxygenase (COX; prostaglandin G/H synthase, EC catalyzes the first two steps in the biosynthesis of prostaglandins (PGs). The two COX isoforms COX-1 and COX-2 are the targets of the widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, indicating a role for these enzymes in pain, fever, inflammation, and tumorigenesis. The ubiquitous constitutive expression of COX-1 and inducible expression of COX-2 have led to the widely held belief that COX-1 produces homeostatic PGs, while PGs produced by COX-2 are primarily pathophysiological. However, recent discoveries call this paradigm into question and reveal as yet underappreciated functions for both enzymes. This review focuses on some of these new insights.

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