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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Oct 15;110(42):16987-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1313185110. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Prostaglandin E2 deficiency causes a phenotype of aspirin sensitivity that depends on platelets and cysteinyl leukotrienes.

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Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is characterized by asthma, tissue eosinophilia, overproduction of cysteinyl leukotrienes (cysLTs), and respiratory reactions to nonselective cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors. Ex vivo studies suggest that functional abnormalities of the COX-2/microsomal prostaglandin (PG)E2 synthase-1 system may underlie AERD. We demonstrate that microsomal PGE2 synthase-1 null mice develop a remarkably AERD-like phenotype in a model of eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation. Lysine aspirin (Lys-ASA)-challenged PGE2 synthase-1 null mice exhibit sustained increases in airway resistance, along with lung mast cell (MC) activation and cysLT overproduction. A stable PGE2 analog and a selective E prostanoid (EP)2 receptor agonist blocked the responses to Lys-ASA by ∼90%; EP3 and EP4 agonists were also active. The increases in airway resistance and MC products were blocked by antagonists of the type 1 cysLT receptor or 5-lipoxygenase, implying that bronchoconstriction and MC activation were both cysLT dependent. Lys-ASA-induced cysLT generation and MC activation depended on platelet-adherent granulocytes and T-prostanoid (TP) receptors. Thus, lesions that impair the inducible generation of PGE2 remove control of platelet/granulocyte interactions and TP-receptor-dependent cysLT production, permitting MC activation in response to COX-1 inhibition. The findings suggest applications of antiplatelet drugs or TP receptor antagonists for the treatment of AERD.

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