Action of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids on cellular function

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 Mar;292(3):C996-1012. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00402.2006. Epub 2006 Sep 20.


Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which function primarily as autocrine and paracrine mediators in the cardiovascular and renal systems, are synthesized from arachidonic acid by cytochrome P-450 epoxygenases. They activate smooth muscle large-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels, producing hyperpolarization and vasorelaxation. EETs also have anti-inflammatory effects in the vasculature and kidney, stimulate angiogenesis, and have mitogenic effects in the kidney. Many of the functional effects of EETs occur through activation of signal transduction pathways and modulation of gene expression, events probably initiated by binding to a putative cell surface EET receptor. However, EETs are rapidly taken up by cells and are incorporated into and released from phospholipids, suggesting that some functional effects may occur through a direct interaction between the EET and an intracellular effector system. In this regard, EETs and several of their metabolites activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) and PPARgamma, suggesting that some functional effects may result from PPAR activation. EETs are metabolized primarily by conversion to dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids (DHETs), a reaction catalyzed by soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Many potentially beneficial actions of EETs are attenuated upon conversion to DHETs, which do not appear to be essential under routine conditions. Therefore, sEH is considered a potential therapeutic target for enhancing the beneficial functions of EETs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • PPAR alpha / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • PPAR alpha
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid