Cell Biology

A New Pathway for Prostaglandins

Science Signaling  15 Nov 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 199, pp. ec320
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4199ec320

Prostaglandins play a major role in many physiological and pathological processes, often as proinflammatory mediators. The proinflammatory effects of prostaglandins may be beneficial when fighting an infection; however, when produced chronically, they can lead to irreparable damage. Prostaglandins are synthesized from arachidonic acid by cyclooxygenase enzymes. The major source of arachidonic acid is thought to be its synthesis by the enzyme phospholipase A2. Nomura et al. (see the Perspective by Stella) now demonstrate an alternative pathway for the production of arachidonic acid: the hydrolysis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol by monoacylglycerol lipase.

D. K. Nomura, B. E. Morrison, J. L. Blankman, J. Z. Long, S. G. Kinsey, M. C. G. Marcondes, A. M. Ward, Y. K. Hahn, A. H. Lichtman, B. Conti, B. F. Cravatt, Endocannabinoid hydrolysis generates brain prostaglandins that promote neuroinflammation. Science 334, 809–813 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

N. Stella, Anatomy of prostaglandin signals. Science 334, 768–769 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]