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British journal of pharmacology

Therapeutic implications of disorders of cell death signalling: membranes, micro-environment, and eicosanoid and docosanoid metabolism.


PMID 22364602

Abstract

Disruptions of cell death signalling occur in pathological processes, such as cancer and degenerative disease. Increased knowledge of cell death signalling has opened new areas of therapeutic research, and identifying key mediators of cell death has become increasingly important. Early triggering events in cell death may provide potential therapeutic targets, whereas agents affecting later signals may be more palliative in nature. A group of primary mediators are derivatives of the highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs), particularly oxygenated metabolites such as prostaglandins. HUFAs, esterified in cell membranes, act as critical signalling molecules in many pathological processes. Currently, agents affecting HUFA metabolism are widely prescribed in diseases involving disordered cell death signalling. However, partly due to rapid metabolism, their role in cell death signalling pathways is poorly characterized. Recently, HUFA-derived mediators, the resolvins/protectins and endocannabinoids, have added opportunities to target selective signals and pathways. This review will focus on the control of cell death by HUFA, eicosanoid (C20 fatty acid metabolites) and docosanoid (C22 metabolites), HUFA-derived lipid mediators, signalling elements in the micro-environment and their potential therapeutic applications. Further therapeutic approaches will involve cell and molecular biology, the multiple hit theory of disease progression and analysis of system plasticity. Advances in the cell biology of eicosanoid and docosanoid metabolism, together with structure/function analysis of HUFA-derived mediators, will be useful in developing therapeutic agents in pathologies characterized by alterations in cell death signalling.

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