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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Oct;152(4 Pt 1):1203-7.

Effect of chronic 5-lipoxygenase inhibition on airway hyperresponsiveness in asthmatic subjects.

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Combined Program in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The leukotrienes are known bronchoactive agonists with potential proinflammatory effects that may be involved in mediating airway hyperresponsiveness. We investigated the effects of zileuton, an inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), on airway responsiveness to cold, dry air in patients with moderate asthma. A group of 10 asthmatic patients underwent cold, dry air hyperventilation challenge; challenges were performed before drug treatment and 1 to 10 d after the completion of treatment with study drugs. The cold air minute ventilation required to cause a 15% decrease in FEV1 (PD15 VE) increased by 58% compared with the response before treatment, 1 to 10 d after the completion of 13 wk of treatment with zileuton. The geometric mean (geometric mean/SEM and geometric mean x SEM) PD15 VE increased from 24.5 (20.4, 29.5) L/min to 38.8 (34.7, 43.7) L/min (p = 0.01). Zileuton treatment inhibited 5-LO as measured ex vivo by ionophore-stimulated LTB4 levels in whole blood. In four of seven subjects, LTB4 levels before zileuton ingestion fell from 110.88 +/- 25.42 to 5.40 +/- 1.95 ng/ml 2 h post-zileuton dosing (p = 0.02, pre- versus 2 h postzileuton ingestion). Consistent with the short half-life of zileuton, 6 h postzileuton dosing the ionophore-stimulated, LTB4 levels in whole blood had increased to 89.68 +/- 35.54 ng/ml (p = 0.41, pre- versus 6 h postzileuton ingestion). Based on the first-order kinetics of zileuton, its effect on 5-LO activity should have been dissipated less than 16 h postingestion. Thus, chronic zileuton treatment decreased airway hyperresponsiveness as determined by reactivity to cold, dry air.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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