Background: Leukotrienes are potent mediators of allergic inflammation and their role in the pathogenesis of allergic disorders, particularly asthma, is well established. Their importance in the pathogenesis of atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) is still unclear. We aimed to compare urinary cysteinyl leukotriene (Cys-LT) levels during exacerbation and remission of AEDS in relation to clinical status, IgE levels, and eosinophil counts.
Methods: Urinary Cys-LTs were measured by direct enzyme immunoassay in 17 adult patients with AEDS and in 17 healthy controls in whom atopy had been excluded. Cys-LTs were compared during exacerbation and remission of AEDS in relation to the clinical status measured by SCORAD. Total IgE levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA).
Results: Mean clinical score during the exacerbation was 64.3 +/- 3.1 and during remission 22.4 +/- 4 (P < 0.01). Cys-LTs levels were significantly higher during the exacerbation of AEDS than in the control group (230.9 +/- 20.8 vs 123.2 +/- 9.9 pg/mg creatinine; P < 0.005). During the remission, the difference between AEDS patients and the control group was not significant (96.3 +/- 8.7 vs 123.2 +/- 9.9 pg/mg creatinine; P = 0.8). During AEDS exacerbation Cys-LTs levels were significantly correlated with the clinical status (rS = 0.73, P < 0.01) and with eosinophil counts (r = 0.86; P < 0.01) but not with the duration of the disease, age of patients, or IgE levels.
Conclusions: Our results point to enhanced biosynthesis of Cys-LTs during the AEDS exacerbations. Inflammatory cells, e.g. eosinophils are the most probable source of Cys-LTs. A strong correlation between Cys-LT levels and clinical status may in part explain preliminary clinical observations of efficacy of leukotriene antagonists in alleviating symptoms of AEDS.