Determining the role of eicosanoids in gastrointestinal physiology and pathophysiology has been an active area of investigation over the past 20 years. The landmark discovery of prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase and other enzymes involved in the production of arachidonic acid products (lipoxygenases and epoxygenases) ushered in a new era of research. The goal of this review is to distill a large body of work pertaining to studies of eicosanoids in the gastrointestinal tract. This review has been organized according both to functional (secretion and motility) and disease-related (inflammation, mucosal injury, and neoplasia) effects. The aim of this article is to present a clear summary of this area of gastroenterology so that future research can be directed in a logical and productive manner.
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