The discovery of an inducible form of prostaglandin synthase initiated a reexamination of the biochemical pathways for ligand-induced prostaglandin synthesis. As a result, new pharmaceutical agents with potential activity against pain, fever, chronic and acute inflammation, cardiovascular disorders, and colon cancer have been developed and are currently under intense investigation. Careful biochemical and pharmacologic studies of the differences between the constitutive and inducible prostaglandin synthase enzymes have suggested a previously unexpected mechanism for some of the therapeutic effects of aspirin. Identification of a new phospholipase, and recognition of its role in mast cell prostaglandin production and in transcellular prostaglandin synthesis, have identified additional potential targets for pharmacologic intervention in inflammation and other prostaglandin-mediated disorders.
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