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Concept: Cyclooxygenase


Certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., rofecoxib [Vioxx]) increase the risk of heart attack and stroke and should be avoided in patients at high risk of cardiovascular events. Rates of cardiovascular disease are high and rising in many low- and middle-income countries. We studied the extent to which evidence on cardiovascular risk with NSAIDs has translated into guidance and sales in 15 countries.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Diclofenac, Celecoxib, Etoricoxib


There is compelling evidence to support an aetiological role for inflammation, oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), and mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of major neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These may represent new pathways for therapy. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is an irreversible inhibitor of both cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2, It stimulates endogenous production of anti-inflammatory regulatory ‘braking signals’, including lipoxins, which dampen the inflammatory response and reduce levels of inflammatory biomarkers, including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor- and interleukin (IL)–6 , but not negative immunoregulatory cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-10. Aspirin can reduce oxidative stress and protect against oxidative damage. Early evidence suggests there are beneficial effects of aspirin in preclinical and clinical studies in mood disorders and schizophrenia, and epidemiological data suggests that high-dose aspirin is associated with a reduced risk of AD. Aspirin, one of the oldest agents in medicine, is a potential new therapy for a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, and may provide proof-of-principle support for the role of inflammation and O&NS in the pathophysiology of this diverse group of disorders.

Concepts: Inflammation, Cyclooxygenase, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha


Sulforaphane (SFN) is a dietary cancer preventive with incompletely characterized mechanism(s) of cancer prevention. Since prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) promotes cancer progression, we hypothesized that SFN may block PGE2 synthesis in cancer cells. We found that SFN indeed blocked PGE2 production in human A549 cancer cells not by inhibiting COX-2, but rather by suppressing the expression of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase (mPGES-1), the enzyme that directly synthesizes PGE2. We identified the Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) as the target of SFN-mediated mPGES-1 suppression. SFN suppressed HIF-1α protein expression and the presence of HIF-1α at the mPGES-1 promoter, resulting in reduced transcription of mPGES-1. Finally, SFN also reduced expression of mPGES-1 and PGE2 production in A549 xenograft tumors in mice. Together, these results point to the HIF-1α, mPGES-1 and PGE2 axis as a potential mediator of the anti-cancer effects of SFN, and illustrate the potential of SFN for therapeutic control of cancer and inflammation. Harmful side effects in patients taking agents that target the more upstream COX-2 enzyme render the downstream target mPGES-1 a significant target for anti-inflammatory therapy. Thus, SFN could prove to be an important therapeutic approach to both cancer and inflammation.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Cancer, Oncology, Transcription, Enzyme, Cyclooxygenase, Prostaglandin


Cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an attractive target for molecular imaging because it is an inducible enzyme that is expressed in response to inflammatory and proliferative stimuli. Recently, we reported that conjugation of indomethacin with carboxy-X-rhodamine dyes results in the formation of effective, targeted, optical imaging agents able to detect COX-2 in inflammatory tissues and pre-malignant and malignant tumors (Uddin et al. Cancer Res. 2010, 70, 3618-3627). The present paper summarizes the details of the structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies performed for lead optimization of these dyes. A wide range of fluorescent conjugates were designed and synthesized, and each of them was tested for their ability to selectively inhibit COX-2 as the purified protein and in human cancer cells. The SAR study revealed that indomethacin conjugates are the best COX-2-targeted agents compared to the other carboxylic acid-containing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or COX-2-selective inhibitors (COXIBs). An n-butyldiamide linker is optimal for tethering bulky fluorescent functionalities onto the NSAID or COXIB cores. The activity of conjugates also depends on the size, shape, and electronic properties of the organic fluorophores. These reagents are taken up by COX-2-expressing cells in culture, and the uptake is blocked by pretreatment with a COX inhibitor. In in vivo settings, these reagents become highly enriched in COX-2-expressing tumors compared to surrounding normal tissue, and they accumulate selectively in COX-2-expressing tumors as compared with COX-2-negative tumors implanted in the same mice. Thus, COX-2-targeted fluorescent inhibitors are useful for preclinical and clinical detection of lesions containing elevated levels of COX-2.

Concepts: Cancer, Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Celecoxib


15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) is the enzyme responsible for prostaglandins (PGs) metabolism. PGs have an important role in the protection of stomach mucosa against destructive stimuli. The aim of the present study is to investigate the inhibitory effect of carbenoxolone, pioglitazone and verapamil on 15-PGDH enzyme.

Concepts: Cyclooxygenase, Enzyme inhibitor, Peptic ulcer


Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) is a common condition resulting from a bout of vigorous exercise, particularly if the individual is unaccustomed to performance of the given movement. Symptoms of EIMD include delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and a loss of physical function. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are routinely prescribed post-exercise to alleviate these symptoms and restore normal physical function. Of potential concern for those who use NSAIDs to treat EIMD is the possibility that they may impair the adaptive response to exercise. Specifically, there is emerging evidence that the action of cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes, and COX-2 in particular, are important and even necessary to achieve maximal skeletal muscle hypertrophy in response to functional overload. Given that NSAIDs exert their actions by blocking COX and thus suppressing prostaglandin production, a theoretical rationale exists whereby these drugs may have detrimental effects on muscle regeneration and supercompensation. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to extensively review the literature and evaluate the effects of NSAIDs on muscle growth and development. Based on current evidence, there is little reason to believe that the occasional use of NSAIDs will negatively affect muscle growth, although the efficacy for their use in alleviating inflammatory symptoms remains questionable. Evidence on the hypertrophic effects of the chronic use of NSAIDs is less clear. In those who are untrained, it does not appear that regular NSAID use will impede growth in the short term, and at least one study indicates that it may in fact have a positive impact. Given their reported impairment of satellite cell activity, however, longer-term NSAID use may well be detrimental, particularly in those who possess greater growth potential.

Concepts: Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Celecoxib, Muscle hypertrophy


Aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID), and acetaminophen are commonly used. Frequent use of analgesics has been associated with a higher risk of hearing loss. However, the association between duration of analgesic use and the risk of hearing loss is unclear. We investigated the relationship between duration of analgesic use and self-reported hearing loss among 55,850 women in the Nurses' Health Study. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to adjust for potential confounders. During 873,376 person-years of follow-up (1990-2012), longer durations of NSAID use (for >6 years of use compared with <1 year, multivariable-adjusted relative risk = 1.10, 95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.15; P for trend < 0.001) and acetaminophen use (for >6 years of use compared with <1 year, multivariable-adjusted relative risk = 1.09, 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 1.14; P for trend < 0.001) were associated with higher risks of hearing loss. Duration of aspirin use was not associated with hearing loss (for >6 years of use compared with <1 year, multivariable-adjusted relative risk = 1.01, 95% confidence interval: 0.97, 1.05; P for trend = 0.35). In this cohort of women, longer durations of NSAID and acetaminophen use were associated with slightly higher risks of hearing loss, but duration of aspirin use was not. Considering the high prevalence of analgesic use, this may be an important modifiable contributor to hearing loss.

Concepts: Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Aspirin, Analgesic, Analgesics


BACKGROUND: Most NSAIDs are thought to be able to cause hepatic injury and acute liver failure (ALF), but the event rates of those leading to transplantation (ALFT) remain uncertain. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to estimate population event rates for NSAID-associated ALFT METHODS: This was a case-population study of ALFT in 57 eligible liver transplant centres in seven countries (France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal and the UK). Cases were all adults registered from 2005 to 2007 for a liver transplant following ALFT without identified clinical aetiology, exposed to an NSAID or paracetamol (acetaminophen) within 30 days before the onset of clinical symptoms. NSAID and paracetamol population exposures were assessed using national sales data from Intercontinental Marketing Services (IMS). Risk was estimated as the rate of ALFT per million treatment-years (MTY). RESULTS: In the 52 participating centres, 9479 patients were registered for transplantation, with 600 for ALFT, 301 of whom, without clinical aetiology, had been exposed to a drug within 30 days. Of these 301 patients, 40 had been exposed to an NSAID and 192 to paracetamol (81 of whom were without overdose). Event rates per MTY were 1.59 (95 % CI 1.1-2.2) for all NSAIDs pooled, 2.3 (95 % CI 1.2-3.9) for ibuprofen, 1.9 (95 % CI 0.8-3.7) for nimesulide, 1.6 (95 % CI 0.6-3.4) for diclofenac and 1.6 (95 % CI 0.3-4.5) for ketoprofen. For paracetamol, the event rate was 3.3 per MTY (95 % CI 2.6-4.1) without overdoses and 7.8 (95 % CI 6.8-9.0) including overdoses. CONCLUSIONS: ALF leading to registration for transplantation after exposure to an NSAID was rare, with no major difference between NSAID. Non-overdose paracetamol-exposed liver failure was twice more common than NSAID-exposed liver failure.

Concepts: Liver, Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Analgesic, Paracetamol toxicity


Introduction: The increased thrombotic cardiovascular (CV) risk in trials of cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors versus placebo, and the apparent similar risk with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be related to their potential to elevate blood pressure (BP). Aims: We evaluated the relationship between baseline BP and change in BP on CV events (CVEs) in patients receiving NSAIDs or COX-2 inhibitors in the prospective randomized, double-blind, Multinational Etoricoxib and Diclofenac Arthritis Long-term Program (N = 34,701) comparing etoricoxib 60 or 90 mg or diclofenac 150 mg daily for a mean duration of 18 months. The main outcome measure was confirmed thrombotic CVEs. The Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration endpoint, all-cause mortality, CV/congestive heart failure (CHF) mortality, and CHF incidence were similarly evaluated. Results: We found that baseline systolic BP (SBP) was associated with significantly higher risk of all events (P < 0.001). Baseline diastolic BP (DBP) was inversely and significantly associated with risk of all events (P < 0.001 to P= 0.016) except CV/CHF mortality (P= 0.054). There was no significant differential effect between etoricoxib and diclofenac in relation to CVEs, except for confirmed CHF, for which the risk was significantly higher with etoricoxib (P= 0.019). Only CHF risk (P= 0.020 for both SBP and DBP change), but not thrombotic endpoints, was significantly associated with change in BP from months 0 to 4. These findings were not meaningfully altered after covariate adjustment for baseline CV risk. Conclusions: Baseline BP, but not change in BP, was significantly associated with risk of thrombotic CVEs through 18 months. The CV risk of COX-2s and NSAIDs did not appear to be related to the BP-elevating effects of these agents, although such analyses, i.e., from randomized controlled trials, are unable to definitively exclude such a relationship.

Concepts: Hypertension, Blood pressure, Cyclooxygenase, Osteoarthritis, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Diclofenac, Analgesic, Etoricoxib


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2 enzymes. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a multi-protein complex responsible for the processing of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β and is implicated in many inflammatory diseases. Here we show that several clinically approved and widely used NSAIDs of the fenamate class are effective and selective inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome via inhibition of the volume-regulated anion channel in macrophages, independently of COX enzymes. Flufenamic acid and mefenamic acid are efficacious in NLRP3-dependent rodent models of inflammation in air pouch and peritoneum. We also show therapeutic effects of fenamates using a model of amyloid beta induced memory loss and a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. These data suggest that fenamate NSAIDs could be repurposed as NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors and Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Inflammation, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Eicosanoid