Research Division of Physiological Chemistry II

Studies on the metabolism of arachidonic acid

Arachidonic acid is the precursor of a broad spectrum of bioactive lipids in the plant and animal kingdom. In mammals, the most well known classes are the prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes and lipoxins which all have powerful and diverse biological activities related to a multitude of physiological as well as pathological conditions. Based on research on metabolites and proteins in the arachidonic cascade, a number of new drugs against inflammation, allergy, asthma and glaucoma have been developed over the past decades and new pharmacological principles continuously evolve from this research area.

At present, most of the research projects carried out within the division of Chemistry II are focused on the leukotrienes, chemical mediators of inflammatory and allergic reactions. In particular, key enzymes are cloned and characterized at the molecular level, enzyme inhibitors are developed, and regulatory mechanisms for cellular leukotriene biosynthesis are elucidated.