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Prostaglandins

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Updated March 14, 2008

Definition: Prostaglandins are short-lived substances made from fatty acids that play a role in many body functions. Among other things, prostaglandins influence pain signals, regulation of inflammation, maintenance of tissues such as the lining of the stomach, blood clotting and stimulation of cells into action. There are a number of different prostaglandins, each with their own function.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication works by reducing the formation of prostaglandins. Because of this, these drugs often have unwanted side effects, such as GI tract bleeding, that result from the lack of prostaglandin activity.

Pronunciation: prah stuh gland in
Examples:
Prostaglandins stimulate target cells, such as mast cells into action.
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