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Prostaglandin Definition
What Are Prostaglandins?

One of a number of hormone-like substances that participate in a wide range of body functions such as the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle, the dilation and constriction of blood vessels, control of blood pressure, and modulation of inflammation. Prostaglandins are a group of biologically active compounds with a number of different actions and produced in virtually all tissues of the body. They are produced on demand in response to a great variety of stimuli. They have a major role in the mediation and modulation of inflammatory states - from the response set up around a splinter lodged in a finger to involvement in a major asthmatic attack or in anaphylactic shock. The name ‘prostaglandin’ was coined after it was found that semen contracted the smooth muscle of the uterus. It was considered that the substance in the semen responsible for this effect came from the prostate gland. 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.

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