The cytochrome P450s (CYPs) represent a highly divergent class of enzymes involved in the oxidation of organic compounds. A subgroup of CYPs metabolize ω3-arachidonic and linoleic acids and ω6-docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) into a series of related biologically active mediators. Over the past 20 years, increasing evidence has emerged for a role of these PUFA-derived mediators in physiological and pathophysiological processes in the vasculature, during inflammation, and in the regulation of metabolism. With recent technological advances and increased availability of lipid mass spectroscopy, we are now starting to discern the patterns of these CYP-PUFA products in health and disease. These analyses not only are revealing the diverse spectrum of lipid nutrients regulated by CYPs, but also clearly indicate that the balance of these mediators changes with dietary intake of different PUFA classes. These findings suggest that we are only just beginning to understand all of the relevant lipid species produced by CYP pathways. Moreover, we are still a long way from understanding the nature and presence of their receptors, their tissue expression, and the pathophysiological processes they regulate. This review highlights these future issues in the context of lipid-metabolizing CYP enzymes, focusing particularly on the CYP450 family of epoxygenases and the lipid mediators they produce.


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