The key difference between prostaglandins and leukotrienes is that prostaglandins are produced by all cell types and all parts of the body that deal with injury and illness while leukotrienes are produced by leukocytes.
Eicosanoids are a family of bioactive lipid mediators. They are oxygenated 20-carbon fatty acids synthesized from dietary essential fatty acids. They participate in the regulation of an array of physiological and pathological responses. Moreover, they show potent inflammatory properties and help in the development and regulation of immunological and inflammatory responses. Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are two types of eicosanoids derived from arachidonic acid. Prostaglandins enhance the vascular permeability effects of histamine and bradykinin while leukotrienes mediate leukocyte accumulation during acute inflammation.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Prostaglandins
3. What are Leukotrienes
4. Similarities Between Prostaglandins and Leukotrienes
5. Side by Side Comparison – Prostaglandins vs Leukotrienes in Tabular Form
What are Prostaglandins?
Prostaglandins are a family of 20 carbon fatty acid eicosanoids. They are synthesized from arachidonic acid via cyclooxygenase at the sites of tissues damage or infection. Therefore, they are produced in all most all cell types and all parts of the body that deal with injury and illness. They are widely distributed within the body.
However, prostaglandins are short-lived. They break down quickly. Prostaglandins control processes like inflammation, blood flow, blood clot formation and induction of labour in our body. Moreover, prostaglandins regulate the female reproductive system. They function by acting on specific receptors.
What are Leukotrienes?
Leukotrienes are another group eicosanoids that act as inflammatory mediators. Leukocytes such as mast cells, eosinophils, etc. produce leukotrienes by the oxidation of arachidonic acid. An enzyme called arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase catalyzes the synthesis process. The production of leukotrienes is usually accompanied by the production of histamine and prostaglandins.
There are two types of leukotrienes. The first group of leukotrienes act in conditions in which inflammation is dependent on neutrophils. The second group of leukotrienes act on the eosinophil and mast cell-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma. Overall, leukotrienes are important agents in both inflammatory responses and causing asthmatic and allergic reactions.
What are the Similarities Between Prostaglandins and Leukotrienes?
- Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are inflammatory mediators.
- They are eicosanoids.
- They are produced from arachidonic acid.
- The production of leukotrienes is usually accompanied by the production of histamine and prostaglandins.
- Both types are involved in the development and regulation of immunological and inflammatory responses.
What is the Difference Between Prostaglandins and Leukotrienes?
Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are two groups of eicosanoids. Prostaglandins are produced by almost all cell types of the body while leukotrienes are produced by leukocytes. So, this is the key difference between prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Furthermore, prostaglandins are generated by the phospholipase A2/cyclooxygenase pathway from arachidonic acids, while leukotrienes are generated by the 5-lipoxygenase pathway from arachidonic acid.
Moreover, functionally, prostaglandins are important in vasodilation, inflammation and regulation of the contraction of smooth muscle tissue. In contrast, leukotrienes are involved in asthmatic and allergic reactions and act to sustain inflammatory reactions.
Below infographic summarizes the difference between prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
Summary – Prostaglandins vs Leukotrienes
Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are two of the four types of eicosanoids, which are bioactive lipid mediators. They are produced from 20-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids called arachidonic acids. Prostaglandins are produced by all types of cells in our body. In contrast, leukotrienes are only produced by leukocytes. Prostaglandins can dilate blood vessels, can regulate inflammation, can cause pain and induce fever. Leukotrienes contribute to conditions like asthma, arthritis and allergic reactions. Thus, this summarizes the difference between prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
1. “Prostaglandin E1” By Calvero. – Selfmade with ChemDraw. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Leukotriene A4” By Calvero – Own work with ChemDraw (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia