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Agents Actions Suppl. 1995;46:159-68.

Selective inhibitors of COX-2.

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  • 1Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research, Pointe-Claire-Dorval, Qu├ębec, Canada.


The main target of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is prostaglandin G/H synthase (PGHS), also known as cyclooxygenase (COX), which exists as two isoforms. In order to evaluate the contributions of PGHS isoforms to physiological and pathological conditions and their sensitivity to inhibition by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, we have established high level expression systems of recombinant human PGHS isoforms. The inducible form of PGHS, termed PGHS-2, has been purified and characterized with respect to substrate specificity, product formation, enzymatic activity, glycosylation, heme content, quaternary structure, and modification by aspirin. Pharmacological profiles of the recombinant PGHS isoforms indicate that conventional NSAIDs show little selectivity for either enzyme, however, the recently described NSAID, NS-398, exhibits a high degree of specificity for PGHS-2 through a time dependent mechanism.

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