Inhibition of Prostaglandin Synthetase in Brain explains the Anti-pyretic Activity of Paracetamol (4-Acetamidophenol)


INHIBITION of prostaglandin biosynthesis by aspirin-like drugs1–3 has now been confirmed in several systems4–7. The theory1 that this anti-enzyme action is the basis of the clinical effects of aspirin-like drugs has recently been reviewed8–11 in detail. One of the few anomalies was that paracetamol (4-acetamidophenol) which has no anti-inflammatory activity, but is analgesic and anti-pyretic12, was inactive against dog spleen synthetase (ED50 = 100 µg ml.−1). A possible explanation for this discrepancy is that synthetase systems from different regions of the body show different sensitivities to drugs.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Vane, J. R., Nature New Biology, 231, 232 (1971).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Smith, J. B., and Willis, A. L., Nature New Biology, 231, 235 (1971).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Ferreira, S. H., Moncada, S., and Vane, J. R., Nature New Biology, 231, 237 (1971).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Smith, W. L., and Lands, W. E. M., J. Biol. Chem., 246, 6700 (1971).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Tomlinson, R. V., Ringold, H. J., Qureshi, M. C., and Forchielli, E., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 46, 552 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Flower, R., Gryglewski, R., Herbaczynska-Cedro, K., and Vane, J. R., Nature New Biology, 238, 104 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Sykes, J. A. C., and Maddox, I. S., Nature New Biology, 237, 59 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Vane, J. R., Hospital Practice, 7, 61 (1972).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Vane, J. R., in Inflammation: Mechanisms and Control (edit. by Lepow, I. H., and Ward, P. A.) (Academic Press, New York, 1972).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Vane, J. R., Proc. Fifth Intern. Congr. Pharmacol. (Karger, Basle, in the press).

  11. 11

    Willis, A. L., Davison, P., Ramwell, P. W., Brocklehurst, W. E., and Smith, J. B., in Prostaglandins in Cellular Biology (edit. by Ramwell, P. W.,and Pharriss, B. B.),227 (Plenum Press, New York and London, 1972).

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Woodbury, D. M., in The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (edit. by Goodman, L. S., and Gilman, A.), fourth ed. (Mao millan, New York, 1970).

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Milton, A. S., and Wendlandt, S., J. Physiol., 207, 76P (1970).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Coceani, F., Wolfe, L. S., Canad. J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 43, 445 (1965).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Feldberg, W., Gupta, K. P., Milton, A. S., and Wendlandt, S., Brit. J. Pharmacol. (in the press).

  16. 16

    Vane, J. R., Brit. J. Pharmac. Chemother., 12, 344 (1957).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Gilmore, N., Vane, J. R., and Wyllie, J. H., Nature, 218, 1135 (1968).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Greén, K., and Samuelsson, B., J. Lip. Res., 5, 117 (1964).

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Collier, H. O. J., Adv. Pharmac. Chemother., 7, 333 (1969).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

FLOWER, R., VANE, J. Inhibition of Prostaglandin Synthetase in Brain explains the Anti-pyretic Activity of Paracetamol (4-Acetamidophenol). Nature 240, 410–411 (1972).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing