We investigated the mechanisms by which inhibitors of prostaglandin G/H synthase-2 (PGHS-2; known colloquially as COX-2) increase the incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke. These inhibitors are believed to exert both their beneficial and their adverse effects by suppression of PGHS-2–derived prostacyclin (PGI2) and PGE2. Therefore, the challenge remains to identify a mechanism whereby PGI2 and PGE2 expression can be suppressed while avoiding adverse cardiovascular events. Here, selective inhibition, knockout, or mutation of PGHS-2, or deletion of the receptor for PGHS-2–derived PGI2, was shown to accelerate thrombogenesis and elevate blood pressure in mice. These responses were attenuated by COX-1 knock down, which mimics the beneficial effects of low-dose aspirin. PGE2 biosynthesis is catalyzed by the coordinate actions of COX enzymes and microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1). We show that deletion of mPGES-1 depressed PGE2 expression, augmented PGI2 expression, and had no effect on thromboxane biosynthesis in vivo. Most importantly, mPGES-1 deletion affected neither thrombogenesis nor blood pressure. These results suggest that inhibitors of mPGES-1 may retain their antiinflammatory efficacy by depressing PGE2, while avoiding the adverse cardiovascular consequences associated with PGHS-2–mediated PGI2 suppression.
Yan Cheng, Miao Wang, Ying Yu, John Lawson, Colin D. Funk, Garret A. FitzGerald