The prostaglandins are a family of naturally occurring hydroxy fatty acids found widely distributed in mammalian tissues (12, 13, 33). However the tissue levels are very low and the richest source, human seminal plasma, contains only up to 300 µg/ml of several prostaglandins. Other organs typically yield about 1 µg/g of prostaglandins based on wet tissue weight. Large scale biosynthesis from polyunsaturated fatty acids has been used to obtain sufficient amounts of various prostaglandins to study their chemistry and biology, as well as to allow preliminary clinical evaluation (23, 53). With the increasing interest of these hormone-like agents in fertility control, labor induction and renal physiology, to name only a few of the areas of interest, the chances of a practical medical use appear promising. Since in the biosynthetic route limitations are apparent on the large scale availability of enzyme, chemical total synthesis offers the best solution, both for larger scale needs and for the synthesis of structural analogs. Also some of the desired analogs may not be available by bioconversion of unsaturated fatty acids because of the reported limitations of the enzyme specificity (26, 45).


Total Synthesis Unsaturated Ketone Wittig Reaction Enol Ether Dibenzyl Ether 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Pike
    • 1
  1. 1.KalamazooUSA

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