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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®

ALOX gene family

Reviewed August 2010

What are the ALOX genes?

Genes in the arachidonate lipoxygenases (ALOX) gene family provide instructions for making enzymes that are involved in a number of biological functions. These functions include cell growth, cell survival, the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), and immune responses. Most of the ALOX enzymes help add an oxygen molecule to a fatty acid called arachidonic acid. The addition of oxygen to arachidonic acid produces substances called fatty acid hydroperoxides. One member of the ALOX family, the eLOX3 enzyme, plays a role in converting fatty acid hydroperoxides into hormones called eicosanoids that act as signaling molecules to facilitate communication between cells. Cell-to-cell communication influences biological functions by altering a cell's shape or chemical environment.

Mutations in ALOX genes have been associated with a variety of health conditions, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, skin disorders, and cancer.

Which genes are included in the ALOX gene family?

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) provides a list of genes in the ALOX family (

Genetics Home Reference summarizes the normal function and health implications of these members of the ALOX gene family: ALOX12B and ALOXE3.

What conditions are related to genes in the ALOX gene family?

Genetics Home Reference includes these conditions related to genes in the ALOX gene family:

  • nonbullous congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma

Where can I find additional information about the ALOX gene family?

You may find the following resources about the ALOX gene family helpful.

  • Biochemistry (fifth edition, 2002): Eicosanoid Hormones Are Derived from Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (

What glossary definitions help with understanding the ALOX gene family?

angiogenesis ; cancer ; cardiovascular ; cell ; enzyme ; gene ; molecule ; oxygen

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary (


These sources were used to develop the Genetics Home Reference summary for the ALOX gene family.

  • Pidgeon GP, Lysaght J, Krishnamoorthy S, Reynolds JV, O'Byrne K, Nie D, Honn KV. Lipoxygenase metabolism: roles in tumor progression and survival. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2007 Dec;26(3-4):503-24. Review. (
  • Kuhn H, Thiele BJ. The diversity of the lipoxygenase family. Many sequence data but little information on biological significance. FEBS Lett. 1999 Apr 16;449(1):7-11. Review. (
  • Brash AR. Lipoxygenases: occurrence, functions, catalysis, and acquisition of substrate. J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 20;274(34):23679-82. Review. (


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Reviewed: August 2010
Published: March 30, 2015