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Cell Signal. 1995 Mar;7(3):171-84.

Arachidonic acid and free fatty acids as second messengers and the role of protein kinase C.

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Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


In addition to serving as the precursor to a plethora of eicosanoids and other bioactive molecules, arachidonate may function as a bona fide second messenger. A number of studies have documented the ability of arachidonate to regulate the function of multiple targets in vitro systems. This has been particularly well established and studied with the activation of protein kinase C by arachidonate in a mechanism distinct from activation by diacylglycerol. In cells, arachidonate induces a number of activities, many of which may be independent of further metabolism to eicosanoids; suggesting possible direct action of arachidonate. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge on the possible second messenger function of arachidonate with specific emphasis on the regulation of protein kinase C.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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