Prostacyclin is an antithrombotic hormone produced by the endothelium, whose production is dependent on cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes of which two isoforms exist. It is widely believed that COX-2 drives prostacyclin production and that this explains the cardiovascular toxicity associated with COX-2 inhibition, yet the evidence for this relies on indirect evidence from urinary metabolites. Here we have used a range of experimental approaches to explore which isoform drives the production of prostacyclin in vitro and in vivo. Our data show unequivocally that under physiological conditions it is COX-1 and not COX-2 that drives prostacyclin production in the cardiovascular system, and that urinary metabolites do not reflect prostacyclin production in the systemic circulation. With the idea that COX-2 in endothelium drives prostacyclin production in healthy individuals removed, we must seek new answers to why COX-2 inhibitors increase the risk of cardiovascular events to move forward with drug discovery and to enable more informed prescribing advice.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 23 Oct 2012