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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Sep;129(3):274-9.

The role of leukotrienes in nasal allergy.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.



This review focuses on the role of cysteinyl leukotrienes (cysLTs) in nasal allergy. The purpose was to provide knowledge of the role of cysLTs in the pathophysiology of nasal allergy and the role of antileukotrienes in the treatment of nasal allergies. Materials and methods We conducted a literature review.


The proinflammatory effects of cysLTs have been well described in asthma. Antileukotrienes have proved to be an effective anti-inflammatory treatment for asthma patients. Similar to pathogenesis of asthma, cysLTs exert potent inflammatory effects in the upper airways and play a role in the pathogenesis of allergic rhinitis and other nasal allergies.


Antileukotriene treatment appears to be beneficial in nasal allergies. Allergic rhinitis is a complex, IgE-mediated inflammatory disease of the upper airways. It is the most common allergic disease, occurring in 10% to 30% of adults and up to 30% of children. It may be perennial or seasonal. Sneezing, itching, watery rhinorrhea, and nasal obstruction are classic symptoms. It may impair cognition, school/work performance and productivity, behavior, mood, and quality of life. On physical examination, clear secretions, nasal congestion, pink-bluish nasal mucosa, the allergic salute, and allergic shiners may be detected. Allergic rhinitis is a common comorbid condition with asthma, sinusitis, otitis media, nasal polyposis, and respiratory infections.

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