Biosynthesis and biological activity of leukotriene B4

Clin Biochem. 1990 Oct;23(5):459-68. doi: 10.1016/0009-9120(90)90272-v.


The leukotrienes are a family of biologically active molecules derived from arachidonic acid. While prostaglandins and thromboxanes are products of the cyclooxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism, the leukotrienes are formed by arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme present in phagocytes, mast cells, and basophils. Inflammatory stimuli, such as chemotactic peptides, platelet-activating factor, phagocytic particles, and immunological stimuli, which activate phagocytes and mast cells, stimulate leukotriene synthesis. Leukotriene B4, a dihydroxy derivative of arachidonic acid, has a unique stimulatory activity on important functional responses of phagocytes; leukotriene B4 exerts chemotactic and chemokinetic activity towards phagocytes in vitro and in vivo, and it is a putative mediator of inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase / blood
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene B4 / biosynthesis*
  • Leukotriene B4 / physiology*
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • Phagocytes / physiology*


  • Leukotriene B4
  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase