New insights into the mode of action of anti-inflammatory drugs

Inflamm Res. 1995 Jan;44(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/BF01630479.


The discovery of a second cyclooxygenase has provided fresh impetus to the search for new anti-inflammatory drugs. The second enzyme is effectively absent from healthy tissues but its levels rise dramatically during inflammation. It can be induced in migratory cells by bacterial lipopolysaccharide, cytokines and growth factors. The constitutive cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) can thus be considered a "housekeeping" enzyme, in contrast to cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) which is activated by tissue damage. Both enzymes have a molecular weight of around 70 kDa and similar Km and Vmax values for their reaction with arachidonic acid. Several non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs which have more than 1,000 fold selectivity for COX-2 over COX-1 are in the early stages of drug development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • Prostaglandins / physiology
  • Steroids


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Prostaglandins
  • Steroids
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases