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Eur Respir J. 1998 Aug;12(2):345-50.

Evidence for mast cell activation during exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

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  • 1Experimental Asthma and Allergy Research, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Controversy remains about the causative mediators in the bronchoconstrictive response to exercise in asthma. This study examined whether mast cell activation is a feature of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction by measuring urinary metabolites of mast cell mediators. Twelve nonsmoking subjects with mild asthma and a history of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction exercised on a stationary bicycle ergometer for 5 min at 80% maximum work load. Pulmonary function was monitored and urine was collected before and 30 and 90 min after the provocation. The urinary concentrations of the mast cell markers 9alpha,11beta-prostaglandin (PG)F2 and Ntau-methylhistamine, as well as leukotriene E4 (LTE4) were determined by immunoassay. Seven of the 12 subjects (responders) experienced bronchoconstriction (>15% fall in the forced expiratory volume in one second) following exercise, whereas the pulmonary function of the remaining five subjects (nonresponders) remained stable. The urinary excretion (mean+/-SE) of 9alpha,11beta-PGF2 in the responders increased significantly compared with the nonresponders at 30 (77.1+/-14.4 versus 37.2+/-5.6; p<0.05) and 90 min (79.3+/-8.6 versus 40.4+/-8.5, p<0.05) after exercise challenge. The urinary excretion of Ntau-methylhistamine and LTE4 was not significantly different between the two groups at 30 or 90 min after exercise. The findings represent the first documentation of increased urinary levels of 9alpha,11beta-prostaglandin F2 in adults following exercise challenge and provides clear evidence for mast cell activation during exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in asthmatics.

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