Roles of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 in prostanoid production by human endothelial cells: Selective up-regulation of prostacyclin synthesis by COX-21

G. E. Caughey, L. G. Cleland, P. S. Penglis, J. R. Gamble, M. J. James

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The two cyclooxygenase (COX) isoforms, COX-1 and COX-2, both metabolize arachidonic acid to PGH2, the common substrate for thromboxane A2 (TXA2), prostacyclin (PGI2), and PGE2 synthesis. We characterized the synthesis of these prostanoids in HUVECs in relation to COX-1 and COX-2 activity. Untreated HUVEC expressed only COX-1, whereas addition of IL-1β caused induction of COX-2. TXA2 was the predominant COX-1-derived product, and TXA2 synthesis changed little with up-regulation of COX-2 by IL-1β (2-fold increase). By contrast, COX-2 up-regulation was associated with large increases in the synthesis of PGI2 and PGE2 (54- and 84-fold increases, respectively). Addition of the selective COX-2 inhibitor, NS-398, almost completely abolished PGI2 and PGE2 synthesis, but had little effect on TXA2 synthesis. The up-regulation of COX-2 by IL-1β was accompanied by specific up-regulation of PGI synthase and PGE synthase, but not TX synthase. An examination of the substrate concentration dependencies showed that the pathway of TXA2 synthesis was saturated at a 20-fold lower arachidonic acid concentration than that for PGI2 and PGE2 synthesis. In conclusion, endothelial prostanoid synthesis appears to be differentially regulated by the induction of COX-2. The apparent PGI2 and PGE2 linkage with COX-2 activity may be explained by a temporal increase in total COX activity, together with selective up-regulation of PGI synthase and PGE synthase, and different kinetic characteristics of the terminal synthases. These findings have particular importance with regard to the potential for cardiovascular consequences of COX-2 inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2831-2838
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Sept 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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