This volume generates a new paradigm for researching and understanding the biological meaning of eicosanoids. Eicosanoid is a general term for oxygenated metabolites of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The compounds are extremely important in human biology, in which they are well understood. Their importance to humans, however, has tended to overshadow their broader biological significance. David Stanley seeks to change that in this book, providing a general sketch of the medical background on eicosanoids and then developing a detailed critical treatment of eicosanoid actions in invertebrates and some lower vertebrates.
Stanley looks at the role of eicosanoids in, for example, invertebrate reproduction, immunity, and ion transport physiology. As he explains, eicosanoids also mediate important ecological interactions, particularly host-parasite interactions. Drawing on these physiological and ecological actions, the book develops a "biological paradigm," under which we understand that eicosanoids probably exert important actions in most, if not all, animals. Because eicosanoids mediate crucial events in the lives of animals, they are endowed with unusual explanatory power. Research designed to increase our understanding of eicosanoids has thus yielded and will continue to yield important new information about animal biology. In addition to representing a major advance in our understanding of eicosanoids in animals, this book serves as an unusually comprehensive and accessible introduction to eicosanoid research in general.
Originally published in 1999.
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