• Open Access

Cyclooxygenase (COX) Inhibitors and the Intestine



Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have long been used for the treatment of pain and inflammation because of their inhibitory effects on cyclooxygenase (COX). For almost as long as NSAIDs have been in use, multiple adverse effects have been noted. Assessment of many of these adverse effects have been complicated because of the discovery of multiple splice variants of the cox gene, and a greater array of COX inhibitors, especially the COX-2 selective inhibitors have become available. Some of these adverse effects cannot be readily explained by the effect of these drugs on COX. This has sparked a new field of investigation into the COX-independent effects of the COX inhibitors. The major noncyclooxygenase targets of the COX inhibitors of particular relevance to inflammation and the gastrointestinal tract are phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase Akt signaling, uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation, PPARγ, nuclear factor kB, mitogen activated protein kinases, and heat shock proteins.