arachidonic acidmedical dictionary

<biochemistry> An essential dietary component for mammals. The free acid is the precursor for biosynthesis of prostaglandins, thromboxanes, hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid derivatives including leucotrienes and is thus of great biological significance.

Within cells the acid is found in the esterified form as a major acyl component of membrane phospholipids (especially phosphatidyl inositol) and its release from phospholipids is thought to be the limiting step in the formation of its active metabolites.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(22 Feb 2008)