Arachidonic acid metabolites are vital for the proper control of renal haemodynamics and, when not properly controlled, can contribute to renal vascular injury and end-stage renal disease. Three major enzymatic pathways, COX (cyclo-oxygenase), CYP450 (cytochrome P450) and LOX (lipoxygenase), are responsible for the metabolism of arachidonic acid metabolites to bioactive eicosanoids. These eicosanoids can dilate or constrict the renal vasculature and maintain vascular resistance in the face of changing vasoactive hormones. Renal vascular generation of eicosanoids is altered in pathophysiological conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and acute renal failure. Experimental evidence supports the concept that altered eicosanoid metabolism contributes to renal haemodynamic alterations and the development and progression of nephropathy. The possible beneficial renal vascular actions of enzymatic inhibitors, eicosanoid analogues and receptor antagonists have been examined in hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This review highlights the roles of renal vascular eicosanoids in the pathogenesis of nephropathy and therapeutic targets for renal disease related to hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and acute renal failure.

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