Heart and Circulatory Physiology

The lung HETEs (and EETs) up

Elizabeth R. Jacobs, Darryl C. Zeldin


Arachidonic acid metabolites of the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways have a variety of important lung functions. Recent observations indicate that cytochrome P-450 (P-450) monooxygenases are also expressed in the lung, localized to specific pulmonary cell types (e.g., epithelium, endothelium, and smooth muscle), and may modulate critical lung functions. This review summarizes recent data on the presence and biological activity of P-450-derived eicosanoids in the pulmonary vasculature and airways, including effects on pulmonary vascular and bronchial smooth muscle tone and airway epithelial ion transport. We hypothesize a number of potential functions of P-450-derived arachidonate metabolites in the lungs such as contribution to hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, regulation of bronchomotor tone, control of the composition of airway lining fluid, and limitation of pulmonary inflammation. Finally, we describe a number of emerging technologies, including congenic and transgenic strains of experimental animals, P-450 isoform-specific inhibitors and inhibitory antibodies, eicosanoid analogs, and vectors for delivery of P-450 cDNAs and antisense oligonucleotides. These tools will facilitate further studies on the contribution of endogenously formed P-450 eicosanoid metabolites to lung function, under both normal and pathological conditions.

  • arachidnoic acid
  • monooxygenases
  • eicosanoids
  • pulmonary arteries
  • bronchi
  • bronchospasm
  • cytochrome P-450
  • inflammation
  • hypoxic vasoconstriction
  • mitogenesis


  • Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: E. R. Jacobs, Dept. of Medicine and Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226 (E-mail: ejacobs{at}mcw.edu).

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