(1996 SG 1895/1896) Nobel prize winners. S.
Bergstrom (1916-) and B. Samuelsson (1934-)
Aspirin works by inhibiting the
enzymatic conversion of the fatty acid arachidonic acid to prostaglandins.
During trauma prostaglandins and
leukotrienes are synthesized from arachidonic acid and secreted by the
damaged tissues. They sensitize
the nerve endings and hence pain. Pure prostaglandins were first isolated
by Sune Bergstrom a Swedish chemist
in 1957. Bengt Samuelsson another Swedish chemist detailed the
synthesis of leukotrienes from
arachidonic acid. They were awarded the Nobel prizes in medicine in 1982
their works on prostaglandins and
A History of Anaesthesia through
Postage Stamps by Alistair McKenzie.