Arachidonic Acid Metabolism in the Human Placenta
The synthesis of arachidonic acid metabolites via the cyclooxygenase enzyme pathway in the pregnant human uterus is well documented (Keirse, 1978). There is ample evidence for the participation of these metabolites in implantation (Pakrasi and Dey, 1982), maintenance of placental blood flow (Wallenberg, 1981) and in the initiation and maintenance of parturition (Goldberg and Ramwell, 1975). Arachidonic acid is also metabolized via lipoxygenase enzymes to hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) and leukotrienes (LTs) and, via cytochrome P450 enzymes, to stable epoxides (Chacos et al., 1982), HETEs and vicinal diols (Oliw and Oates, 1981). There is evidence to suggest that fetal membranes may be able to synthesize hydroxyfatty acids in addition to prostaglandins in humans (Kinoshita and Green, 1980; Saeed and Mitchell, 1982) and in rabbits (Elliott et al., 1984). However the synthesis of lipoxygenase products by the human placenta is not well documented.
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