Effects of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Endothelium

  • Arthur A. Spector
  • Steven A. Moore


The omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are necessary for proper bodily function and health. This class consists of a series of six fatty acids that can be interconverted through elongation, desaturation, and retroconversion.1 The metabolic pathway and the structures of the major components, linoleic acid (18:2) and arachidonic acid (20:4), are illustrated in Fig. 1. Linoleic acid, the main dietary component, can be converted to the other members of the omega-6 series. Prostaglandins and lipoxygenase products are formed from arachidonic acid in animal tissues, including the endothelium. These eicosanoids are especially important for endothelial function. PGI2, the main eicosanoid produced by arterial endothelium, inhibits platelet aggregation and causes relaxation of vascular smooth muscle.2 Several other eicosanoids produced by endothelium, including PGE2,3,4 hydroxy-eicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs),3 and dihydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (diHETEs),5,6 probably also play a role in endothelial function. Furthermore, linoleic acid can be converted to a hydroxylated metabolite, hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (HODE),7–9 which can influence the antithrombogenic properties of the endothelial surface as well as modulate eicosanoid formation and degradation.7,9


Linoleic Acid Arachidonic Acid Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cell Human Endothelial Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur A. Spector
    • 1
  • Steven A. Moore
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Iowa College of MedicineIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Iowa College of MedicineIowa CityUSA

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