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J Nat Prod. 1998 Jan;61(1):2-7.

Development of a radiochemical cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 in vitro assay for identification of natural products as inhibitors of prostaglandin biosynthesis.

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Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Sweden.


A radiochemical enzyme assay for studying cyclooxygenase (COX)-catalyzed prostaglandin biosynthesis in vitro was optimized with respect to both COX-1 and COX-2 activity. The assay can be used to assess the relative selectivity of plant-derived inhibitors on COX-1 and COX-2 Assay conditions were optimized for both enzymes with respect to concentration of cofactors (l-epinephrine, reduced glutathione, and hematin), activation time (enzyme and cofactors), reaction time, and pH. Moreover, the kinetic parameters, Km and Kcat, of both enzymes were estimated. Five COX inhibitors were used to validate the assay, indomethacin, aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and the arylsulfonamide NS-398, all with different COX selectivity and time dependency. Time-dependent inhibition was determined by comparing the inhibition, with and without preincubation of enzyme and inhibitor. Two flavonoids, (+)-catechin and quercitrin, were examined with respect to inhibition of COX-catalyzed prostaglandin biosynthesis. (+)-Catechin showed equal inhibitory effects on the two enzymes. Quercitrin was found to be inactive toward both COX-1- and COX-2-catalyzed prostaglandin biosynthesis. The optimization procedure resulted in a considerable reduction of the amount of enzyme required for adequate prostglandin biosynthesis and a reliable method suited to evaluate natural products on inhibition of COX-2-catalyzed prostaglandin biosynthesis, as well as on COX-1.

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