Leukotrienes: mediators that have been typecast as villains.

Flamand N, Mancuso P, Serezani CH, Brock TG
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 64 (19-20): 2657-70

PMID: 17639273 · DOI:10.1007/s00018-007-7228-2

As befalls many mediators that act upon the human stage, leukotrienes have become identified with their most powerful roles as villains of the immune system. They are well known for their leading roles in allergic diseases, including asthma. They also have gained recognition for their dramatic role as promoters of inflammation. As new roles for these lipid messengers are sought, it is becoming apparent that the leukotrienes have been typecast as bad guys of the immune system. As examples, their more recent roles have been in atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis and cancer. However, upon further evaluation, we can begin to see their versatility. Thus, leukotrienes stimulate innate immunity against pathogens. In addition, they promote the expression of mediators, receptors and other molecules that are important for immune defense. In these lesser known roles, they lead the fight against bacterial, fungal and viral infection. This review is intended to shed light on the leukotrienes, where they come from and what we really know about them.

MeSH Terms (6)

Animals Gene Expression Regulation Humans Immunity, Innate Inflammation Mediators Leukotrienes

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