Arachidonic acid

Arachidonic acid

Chembox new
Name = Arachidonic acid
ImageFile = AAnumbering.png ImageSize = 350px
IUPACName = "all-cis"-5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid
Section1 = Chembox Identifiers
CASNo = 506-32-1

Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = C20H32O2.
MolarMass = 304.5 g/mol
Density =
MeltingPt = -49.5 °C
BoilingPt = °C (dec.)

Arachidonic acid (AA, sometimes ARA) is an omega-6 fatty acid 20:4(ω-6).It is the counterpart to the saturated arachidic acid found in peanut oil, ("L. arachis – peanut".)cite web
title = Dorland's Medical Dictionary – 'A'
accessdate = 2007-01-12


In chemical structure, arachidonic acid is a carboxylic acid with a 20-carbon chain and four "cis" double bonds; the first double bond is located at the sixth carbon from the omega end.

Some chemistry sources define 'arachidonic acid' to designate any of the eicosatetraenoic acids. However, almost all writings in biology, medicine and nutrition limit the term to all-"cis" 5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid.


Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is present in the phospholipids (especially phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositides) of membranes of the body's cells, and is abundant in the brain.

It is also involved in cellular signaling as a second messenger.

It is the source of several other molecules with specific roles, as described in the next section.

ynthesis and cascade

Arachidonic acid is freed from phospholipid molecule by the enzyme phospholipase A2, which cleaves off the fatty acid.

Arachidonic acid is a precursor in the production of eicosanoids:
* the enzymes cyclooxygenase and peroxidase lead to Prostaglandin H2, which in turn is used to produce the prostaglandins, prostacyclin, and thromboxanes.
* the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase leads to 5-HPETE, which in turn is used to produce the leukotrienes.
* arachidonic acid is also used in the biosynthesis of anandamide.

The production of these derivatives and their action in the body are collectively known as the "arachidonic acid cascade"; see essential fatty acid interactions for more details.

Essential fatty acid

Arachidonic acid is one of the essential fatty acids required by most mammals. Some mammals lack the ability to—or have a very limited capacity to—convert linoleic acid into arachidonic acid, making it an essential part of their diet. Since little or no arachidonic acid is found in plants, such animals are obligate carnivores; the cat is a common example.cite journal
author=MacDonald M, Rogers Q, Morris J
title=Nutrition of the domestic cat, a mammalian carnivore
journal=Annu Rev Nutr |volume=4 |issue= |pages=521–62 |year=1984
] cite journal |author=Rivers J, Sinclair A, Crawford M |title=Inability of the cat to desaturate essential fatty acids |journal=Nature |url= |doi=10.1038/258171a0|volume=258 |issue=5531 |pages=171–3 |year=1975 |pmid=1186900]

ee also

* Polyunsaturated fat
* Polyunsaturated fatty acid
* Aspirin - inhibits cyclooxygenase enzyme to prevent the conversion of arachidonic acid to other signal molecules


External links

* [ Arachidonic Acid] at

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • arachidonic acid — arachidono rūgštis statusas T sritis chemija formulė CH₃(CH₂)₄(CH=CHCH₂)₄CH₂CH₂COOH atitikmenys: angl. arachidonic acid rus. арахидоновая кислота ryšiai: sinonimas – (Z,Z,Z,Z) 5,8,11,14 dokozatetraeno rūgštis …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • Arachidonic acid 5-hydroperoxide — Chembox new ImageFile=5 Hydroperoxyeicosatetraenoic acid.svg ImageSize= IUPACName= OtherNames= Section1= Chembox Identifiers CASNo=74581 83 2 PubChem=5280778 SMILES= MeSHName=Arachidonic+acid+5 hydroperoxide Section2= Chembox Properties… …   Wikipedia

  • arachidonic acid — 5,8,11,14 Eicosatetraenoic (icosatetraenoic) acid; an unsaturated fatty acid, usually essential in nutrition; the biological precursor of the prostaglandins, the thromboxanes, and the leukotrienes (collectively known as eicosanoids). * * *… …   Medical dictionary

  • arachidonic acid — (= 5,8,11,14 eicosatetraenoic acid) An essential dietary component for mammals. The free acid is the precursor for biosynthesis of the signalling molecules prostaglandins, thromboxanes, hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid derivatives including… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • arachidonic acid — noun Etymology: New Latin Arachid , Arachis + English onic (as in gluconic acid) Date: 1913 a liquid unsaturated fatty acid C20H32O2 that occurs in most animal fats, is a precursor of prostaglandins, and is considered essential in animal… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • arachidonic acid — /ar euh ki don ik, ar /, Biochem. an essential fatty acid, C20H32O2, found in the lipids of most tissues, that is a precursor in the synthesis of prostaglandins, prostacyclins, and related effectors. [1910 15; ARACHID(IC) + ONIC] * * * …   Universalium

  • arachidonic acid — noun A long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, having 20 carbon atoms and four double bonds, found in animal fats; it is essential for human nutrition, being a precursor to the production of prostaglandins …   Wiktionary

  • arachidonic acid — [əˌrakɪ dɒnɪk] noun Biochemistry a fatty acid present in animal fats which is an essential constituent of the human diet. Origin early 20th cent.: from mod. L arachis, arachid peanut , from Gk arak(h)os, kis + one + ic …   English new terms dictionary

  • arachidonic acid — see essential fatty acid …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • arachidonic acid — ˌarəkə̇ˈdänik noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary arachidic + onic : a liquid unsaturated acid C19H31COOH occurring in most animal fats (as in the phosphatides of beef adrenal glands and the lipids of the liver) and considered… …   Useful english dictionary

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