Cyclooxygenase (COX) catalyzes the conversion of arachidonic acid into prostaglandin H2 (PGH2), which is subsequently converted to the prostanoids PGE2, PGI2, PGF2α, and thromboxane A2. COX has 2 distinct membrane-anchored isoenzymes: COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is constitutively expressed in most normal tissues; COX-2 is highly induced by proinflammatory mediators in the setting of inflammation, injury, and pain. Inhibitors of COX activity include conventional nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as COX-2 inhibitors. The adverse effects of COX inhibitors on the cardiovascular system have been addressed in the last few years. In general, COX inhibitors have many effects, but those most important to the cardiovascular system can be direct (through the effects of prostanoids) and indirect (through alterations in fluid dynamics). Despite reports of detrimental human cardiovascular events associated with COX inhibitors, short, long, and lifetime preclinical toxicology studies in rodents and nonrodents have failed to identify these risks. This article focuses on the expression and function of COX enzymes in normal and pathologic conditions of the cardiovascular system and discusses the cardiovascular pathophysiologic complications associated with COX inhibition.
- Nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
ASJC Scopus subject areas