March 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 5)
Strong Points: Good coverage of topic
Weak Points: Nothing significant
If there’s a class of biochemicals whose effects are more diverse than those of the eicosanoids, I don’t know what it would be, other than perhaps the steroid hormones. The eicosanoids are 20 carbon compounds derived from arachidonic acid that are commonly associated with pain and inflammation. They include the prostaglandins, the thromboxanes, the prostacyclins, and the leukotrienes and they are implicated in processes as diverse as asthma (leukotrienes), uterine contraction (prostaglandins) and platelet stickiness (thromboxanes). Some of them (prostaglandins) have been of tremendous interest over the past decade or so by virtue of being implicated in general pain and are a target for NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and the now out-of-favor Cox II inhibitors, like Vioxx. On the Eicosanoids page, what you think you’ll get is just what you’ll get. Sometimes it’s good not to be surprised and this is one of them. The site does a great job of going over the various forms of these compounds and the effects the produce. A very informative site, even if the subject itself is rather limited in scope.