Paradox suggests reasons why COX-2 inhibitors hurt and help.
Laboratory studies at Johns Hopkins have revealed that certain products of the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 can both protect and damage the brain. The findings, published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry, offer tantalizing clues to why drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex, which block COX-2, can ease arthritis but potentially harm the heart and brain.
Katrin Andreasson, M.D., an assistant professor in the neurology and neuroscience departments at Hopkins, and lead author of the study, explains that the recent discoveries of cardiovascular complications with long-term use of some COX-2 inhibitors are thought to be due to blocking effects of "good" prostaglandins, which are the downstream products of COX activity, potentially leading to heart attacks and strokes. "Defining which prostaglandin pathways are good and which promote disease would help to design more specific therapeutics," she says.
Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
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