Review

Inflammation Research

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 1-10

First online:

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

  • J. R. VaneAffiliated withThe William Harvey Research Institute, St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College
  • , R. M. BottingAffiliated withThe William Harvey Research Institute, St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College

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Abstract

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 70kDa 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.

Key words

Cyclooxygenase-1 Cyclooxygenase-2 Prostaglandins Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs Anti-inflammatory steroids