The prostaglandins are a unique group of pharmacologically active lipids which are widely distributed in mammalian tissues and body fluids. The chemistry of this family of compounds has been established in elegant detail. Research quantities of these highly active natural compounds were obtained by enzymatic bioconversion of essential fatty acids and now studies devoted to the elucidation of their physiological roles and their clinical potential are progressing rapidly. Fields of greatest current interest in clinical medicine include renal-cardiovascular research, induction of labour and therapeutic abortion, control of the reproductive cycle (including fertility control), bronchodilation, enhancement of nasal patency and antisecretory activity. Results available to date are too preliminary for many conclusions to be drawn, but are sufficiently encouraging to assure continued and expanding efforts in several fields.
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