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Definition of PROSTAGLANDIN
: any of various oxygenated unsaturated cyclic fatty acids of animals that are formed chiefly by the action of cyclooxygenase on arachidonic acid and perform a variety of hormonelike actions (as in controlling blood pressure or smooth muscle contraction)
Origin of PROSTAGLANDIN
prostate gland + 1-in; from its occurrence in the seminal fluid of animals
First Known Use: 1936
Medical Definition of PROSTAGLANDIN
: any of various oxygenated unsaturated cyclic fatty acids of animals that are formed as cyclooxygenase metabolites especially from unsaturated fatty acids (as arachidonic acid) composed of a chain of 20 carbon atoms and that perform a variety of hormonelike actions (as in controlling blood pressure or smooth muscle contraction)
Any of a class of organic compounds that occur in many animal tissues and have diverse hormonelike effects in animals (seehormone). Their common chemical structure is derived from a fatty acid with 20 carbon atoms. They have important effects on blood pressure, blood clotting, pain sensation, and reproduction mechanisms, but one prostaglandin may have different and even opposite effects in different tissues. They hold promise for treating heart disease and viral diseases and may be useful in contraception. Some substances that inhibit prostaglandin synthesis (seeaspirin) are useful in controlling pain, asthma attacks, or anaphylactic shock or as anticoagulants.