Prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase-1 [prostaglandin G/H synthase-1 (PGHS-1)] and PGHS-2 are key enzymes in the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins and other eicosanoids. We refer to these isoforms as cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2 in this review. This brief review focuses on recent developments in the study of these enzymes. Alterations in the expression levels of COX-2 result in distinct phenotypic changes in intestinal epithelial cells. Overexpression of COX-2 in intestinal epithelial cells results in increased adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins and inhibition of apoptosis. Disruption of the COX-2 gene in mice results in renal dysplasia, cardiac fibrosis, and defects in the ovary. Interestingly, disruption of the COX-1 gene results in distinct phenotypic changes different from those observed for COX-2. COX-1 null mice survive well, have no gastric pathology, and show less indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration than wild-type mice. These two closely related enzymes must have distinct functions in the organisms, since lack of their expression causes distinct phenotypic changes for each respective isoform.