The nematode parasites that cause human lymphatic filariasis survive for long periods in their vascular habitats despite continual exposure to host cells. Since prostanoids formed from arachidonic acid can modulate interactions among platelets, leukocytes, and endothelial cells, we examined whether intravascular nematode parasites can elaborate prostanoids. Microfilariae of Brugia malayi utilize exogenous and endogenous arachidonic acid to generate and release two predominant prostanoids, prostacyclin and prostaglandin E2. Filarial metabolism of host fatty acids to form these vasodilatory, antiaggregatory, and immunomodulatory eicosanoids provides a means by which these helminthic parasites may influence host immune and other cellular responses.

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