arachidonic acid

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A polyunsaturated fatty acid (5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid) that is the precursor for prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid derivatives including leukotrienes. Arachidonic acid is the fatty acid moiety of many membrane phospholipids, especially phosphatidylinositol, and its release from membranes by phospholipases may be the rate-limiting step in the formation of its active metabolites. It is an essential dietary component.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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