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J Clin Invest. 1994 Mar;93(3):1042-50.

Leukotriene A4 hydrolase in human bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego.


We examined cell-free human bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) for enzymes of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway. BALF was obtained from six patients who were active smokers and six nonsmokers. Enzymatic activity in cell-free BALF was assessed by specific assays for leukotriene (LT) A4 hydrolase, 5-lipoxygenase, and LTC4 synthase using HPLC. Only LTA4 hydrolase enzymatic activity was found. This activity ranged from 101 to 667 when expressed as picomoles of LTB4 produced per milliliter BALF. Enzymatic activity in smokers vs nonsmokers was 484 +/- 120 vs 129 +/- 32 pmol LTB4/ml BALF (mean +/- SD, P < 0.0001). There were no leukotrienes found in BALF before assay. Immunoblot analysis revealed an immunoreactive band at a relative molecular mass of 69,000 D in all samples, consistent with LTA4 hydrolase, but no evidence of 5-lipoxygenase. BALF had greater LTA4 hydrolase activity per milligram of protein than neutrophil cytosol, epithelial cell cytosol, plasma, or serum. The synthesis of LTB4 was significantly increased when neutrophils were stimulated in BALF. These data indicate the selective presence of LTA4 hydrolase in BALF which is significantly increased in smokers. This enzyme in BALF may contribute to the inflammatory response in tobacco-related lung disease.

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