Phytochemical and biological studies aimed at the discovery and development of novel antiinflammatory agents from natural sources have been conducted in our laboratory for a number of years. In this communication, three naturally occurring furocoumarins (imperatorin, isoimperatorin and prantschimgin) were evaluated as potential inhibitors of some macrophage functions involved in the inflammatory process. These furocoumarins have been tested in two experimental systems: ionophore-stimulated mouse peritoneal macrophages serve as a source of cyclooxygenase-1 and 5-lipoxygenase, and mouse peritoneal macrophages stimulated with E. coli lipopolysaccharide are the means of testing for anti-cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric-oxidesynthase activity. All above-mentioned furocoumarins showed significant effect on 5-lipoxygenase (leukotriene C4) with IC50 values of < 15 microM. Imperatorin and isoimperatorin exhibited strong-to-medium inhibition on cyclooxygenase-1- and cyclooxygenase-2-catalysed prostaglandin E2 release, with inhibition percentages similar to those of the reference drugs, indometacin and nimesulide, respectively. Of the three furocoumarins, only imperatorin caused a significant reduction of nitric oxide generation. Imperatorin and isoimperatorin can be classified as dual inhibitors, since it was evident that both cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways of arachidonate metabolism were inhibited by these compounds. However, selective inhibition of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway is suggested to be the primary target of action of prantschimgin.