Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), derived from arachidonic acid by cytochrome P450 epoxygenases, are potent vasodilators that function as endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factors in some vascular beds. EETs are rapidly metabolized by soluble epoxide hydrolase to form dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids (DHETs). Recent reports indicate that EETs have several important non-vasomotor regulatory roles in the cardiovascular system. EETs are potent anti-inflammatory agents and might function as endogenous anti-atherogenic compounds. In addition, EETs and DHETs might stimulate lipid metabolism and regulate insulin sensitivity. Thus, pharmacological inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase might be useful not only for hypertension but also for abating atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus and the metabolic syndrome. Finally, although usually protective in the systemic circulation, EETs might adversely affect the pulmonary circulation.
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