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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1993 Apr;91(4):917-29.

The role of 5-lipoxygenase products in preclinical models of asthma.

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  • 1Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ridgefield, CT 06877.



The action of 5-lipoxygenase on arachidonic acid generates potent inflammatory mediators that may contribute to the pathophysiology of asthma.


Using the potent and selective 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor BI-L-239, we have examined the role of 5-lipoxygenase products in three animal models of asthma.


In vitro BI-L-239 inhibited 5-lipoxygenase product generation from human lung mast cells, alveolar macrophages, and peripheral blood leukocytes with a concentration that would provide 50% inhibition values of 28 to 340 nmol/L. A 36-fold selectivity for immunoreactive leukotriene C4 versus immunoreactive prostaglandin D2 inhibition was demonstrated in mast cells. In anesthetized cynomolgus monkeys, inhaled BI-L-239 provided dose-dependent inhibition of the inhaled Ascaris-induced immunoreactive leukotriene C4 release (maximum, 73%; bronchoalveolar lavage [BAL], 20 minutes), late-phase bronchoconstriction (maximum, 41%; +6 to 8 hours), and neutrophil infiltration (maximum, 63%; BAL, +8 hours). In conscious sheep, inhaled BI-L-239 provided dose-dependent inhibition of the inhaled Ascaris-induced late-phase bronchoconstriction (maximum, 66%; +6 to 8 hours) and increase in airway responsiveness (maximum, 82%; carbachol, +24 hours). The acute bronchoconstriction was shortened, and neutrophil infiltration diminished (maximum, 61%; BAL, +8 hours) in this model. Finally in conscious actively sensitized guinea pigs pretreated with pyrilamine and indomethacin, inhaled BI-L-239 attenuated acute bronchoconstriction (maximum, 80%; +5 to 15 minutes), leukocyte infiltration (58%; BAL, +3 days) and increase in airway responsiveness (100%; methacholine, +3 days) induced by three alternate-day ovalbumin inhalations.


In conclusion, results in these three animal models indicate that 5-lipoxygenase products may be major contributors to the bronchoconstriction (especially late phase), leukocyte infiltration, and airway hyperresponsiveness that characterize asthma.

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