Group of compounds derived from arachidonic acid by the action of cyclo-oxygenase that produces cyclic endoperoxides (PGG2 and PGH2) that can give rise to prostacyclin or thromboxanes as well as prostaglandins. Were originally purified from prostate (hence the name), but are now known to be ubiquitous in tissues. PGs have a variety of important roles in regulating cellular activities, especially in the inflammatory response where they may act as vasodilators in the vascular system, cause vasoconstriction or vasodilation together with bronchodilation in the lung, and act as hyperalgesics. Prostaglandins are rapidly degraded in the lungs, and will not therefore persist in the circulation. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) acts on adenylate cyclase to enhance the production of cyclic AMP.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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