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Eicosanoid Biosynthesis

  1. Ana Z Fernandez1,
  2. Maria Fatima Garces2,
  3. Claudia P Alvarado-Castillo1,
  4. Omar Estrada1

Published Online: 19 APR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001392.pub2



How to Cite

Fernandez, A. Z., Fatima Garces, M., Alvarado-Castillo, C. P. and Estrada, O. 2010. Eicosanoid Biosynthesis. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Centre of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Caracas, Venezuela

  2. 2

    Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2010


Eicosanoids are the major products derived from the cellular metabolism of arachidonic acid by the enzymes cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and epoxygenases. The eicosanoids comprise several compounds, which include prostaglandins, thromboxanes, prostacyclins, leukotrienes, lipoxins and epoxyeicosatrienoic acids. They represent the major group of metabolically active lipids, exerting their functions through different mechanisms, that is by receptor binding and intracellular signalling pathway modulation. Their effects are diverse, acting on every cell of the body, with a short half-life. A tight regulation on the processes of formation and inactivation or clearance is fundamental to prevent the exacerbation of their effects. Although initially they were strictly linked to inflammatory processes, recent evidences point out their homeostatic counterpart. Thus, there are eicosanoids involved in vasoconstriction/vasodilatation balance, thrombotic/antithrombotic balance and inflammation/anti-inflammation balance. This article will focus on the enzymes involved in the formation of these lipids.

Key concepts:

  • Eicosanoids are important lipid mediators involved in cellular homeostasis.

  • Most eicosanoid effects are mediated through specific receptors.

  • Inhibition or activation of the key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of eicosanoids has encouraged the development of new therapeutics approaches.


  • prostaglandins;
  • leukotrienes;
  • prostanoids;
  • prostacyclins;
  • thromboxanes;
  • epoxyeicosatrienoic acids