Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 174657, 5 pages

The 5-Lipoxygenase as a Common Pathway for Pathological Brain and Vascular Aging

Department of Pharmacology School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA

Received 19 May 2009; Accepted 29 June 2009

Academic Editor: Hari Manev

Copyright © 2009 Jin Chu and Domenico Praticò. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epidemiological studies indicate age as a strong risk factor for developing cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. During the aging process, changes in the expression of particular genes can influence the susceptibility to these diseases. 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO) by oxidizing fatty acids forms leukotrienes, potent mediators of oxidative and inflammatory reactions, two key pathogenic events in both clinical settings. This enzyme is widely distributed in the cardiovascular as well as in the central nervous system, where its expression levels increase with age, suggesting that it may be involved in their diseases of aging. The central theme of this article is that during aging, 5-LO acts as biologic link between different stressors and the development of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. We hypothesize that the age-dependent upregulation of 5-LO represents a “priming” factor in the vasculature as well as in the brain, where a subsequent exposure to triggering stimuli (i.e., infections) leads to an abnormal chronic inflammatory reaction, and ultimately results in increased organ vulnerability and functional deficits.