Pharmaceutisch Weekblad

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 642–647 | Cite as

Biochemistry of Prostaglandins

  • R. Maier


Prostaglandins are ubiquitous compounds being biosynthetised in most cells from essential fatty acids composed of twenty carbon atoms. They are, however, not responsible for the essential character of these fatty acids.

The nomenclature of the prostaglandins is derived from the precursors denoting the suffixes of the series 1, 2 and 3. Within a series the compounds are held apart by letters according to the kind and stereochemical positioning of the oxygen substituent on the cyclopentane ring.

The biosynthesis from the precursors proceeds via peroxides catalysed by a number of enzymes, which are globally known as prostaglandin synthetase. The best known of these enzymes is the cyclo-oxygenase being inhibited by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Chemical synthesis has been achieved by several groups, particularly in order to develop more stable compounds. Catabolic degradation is rapid and leads to dicarboxylic acids being eliminated in the urine.


Oxygen Public Health Peroxide Internal Medicine Carbon Atom 
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Copyright information

© Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Maier
    • 1
  1. 1.Ciba-Geigy AGBasleSwitzerland

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