(15S)-Hydroxy-(5Z,8Z,11Z,13E)-eicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE) suppresses in ionophore-A23187-stimulated human polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMN) the conversion of exogenous arachidonic acid into leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and (5S)-hydroxy-(6E,8Z,11Z,14Z)-eicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE). However, contrary to earlier suggestions, 15-HETE is not a genuine 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor under these conditions, but rather suppresses the 5-lipoxygenation of arachidonic acid by switching-over of substrate utilization, as judged from a sizeable formation of labelled (5S,15S)-dihydroxy-(6E,8Z,11Z,13E)-eicosatetraenoic acid (5,15-diHETE) from 15-[1-14C]HETE. Identical results were obtained with human recombinant 5-lipoxygenase. In PMN the formation of 5,15-diHETE is strongly stimulated by either hydroperoxypolyenoic fatty acids or arachidonic acid, suggesting a crucial role of the hydroperoxide tone of the cell. A comparison of a selection of hydroxypolyenoic fatty acids with respect to their capability of suppressing 5-lipoxygenation of arachidonic acid revealed that 15-monohydroxyeicosanoids throughout exhibit the highest inhibitory potencies, whereas the other HETEs, 5,15-diHETE as well as octadecanoids, are modest or poor inhibitors. The R and S enantiomers of 15-HETE do not differ from each other, excluding a receptor-like binding of the 15-hydroxy group.

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