The roles of CYP450 epoxygenases and metabolites, epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, in cardiovascular and malignant diseases

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2011 Jul 18;63(8):597-609. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2011.03.006. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


Cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases metabolize arachidonic acid to biologically active eicosanoids. The primary epoxidation products are four regioisomers of cis-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET): 5,6-, 8,9-, 11,12-, and 14,15-EET. CYP2J2, CYP2C8, and CYP2C9 are the predominant epoxygenase isoforms involved in EET formation. CYP2J and CYP2C gene families in humans are abundantly expressed in the endothelium, myocardium, and kidney. The cardiovascular effects of CYP epoxygenases and EETs range from vasodilation, anti-hypertension, pro-angiogenesis, anti-atherosclerosis, and anti-inflammation to anti-injury caused by ischemia-reperfusion. Using transgenic animals for in vivo analyses of CYP epoxygenases revealed comprehensive and marked cardiovascular protective effects. In contrast, CYP epoxygenases and their metabolites, EETs, are upregulated in human tumors and promote tumor progression and metastasis. These biological effects result from the anti-apoptosis, pro-mitogenesis, and anti-migration roles of CYP epoxygenases and EETs at the cellular level. Importantly, soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitors are anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory and, therefore, protect the heart from damage, whereas the terfenadine-related, specific inhibitors of CYP2J2 exhibit strong anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Thus, CYP2J2 and arachidonic acid-derived metabolites likely play important roles in regulating cardiovascular functions and malignancy under physiological and/or pathological conditions. Moreover, although challenges remain to improving the drug-like properties of sEH inhibitors and identifying efficient ways to deliver sEH inhibitors, sEH will likely become an important therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases. In addition, CYP2J2 may be a therapeutic target for treating human cancers and leukemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Arachidonic Acid / metabolism
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2J2
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • CYP2J2 protein, human
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2J2