Severe asthma is associated with a loss of LX4, an endogenous anti-inflammatory compound

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Jan;115(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2004.09.038.


Background: Lipoxins and 15-epi-lipoxins are lipid mediators that modulate leukocyte trafficking and promote the inflammation resolution. They are produced by different enzymatic pathways. Patients with severe asthma present ongoing airway inflammation despite chronic long-term treatment including oral glucocorticoids.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the presence of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators in the supernatants of induced sputum.

Methods: Induced sputum supernatants were collected from 10 normal subjects; 12 subjects with mild, 15 with moderate, and 24 with severe asthma; and 13 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. First, we validated the measurements of IL-8, leukotriene B 4 , lipoxin A 4 , and 15-epi-lipoxin A 4 in these samples. Then we measured these mediators by using immunoenzymatic methods.

Results: IL-8 levels were highly increased in patients with severe asthma ( P < .0001), and leukotriene B 4 levels were significantly increased in patients with severe asthma and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Lipoxin A 4 was significantly increased in the supernatant obtained from patients with mild asthma ( P < .0001), whereas 15-epi-lipoxin A 4 levels were higher in patients with severe asthma ( P = .05). More interestingly, we found a positive correlation between the level of lipoxin A 4 and IL-8 in patients with mild asthma.

Conclusion: These results indicate that induced sputum is a suitable method to assess lipoxin and 15-epi-lipoxin measurements in bronchi. The mechanisms involved in the synthesis of these 2 eicosanoid mediators would be helpful to understand better the imbalance between proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators occurring in severe asthma. Lipoxin production involves interaction between lipoxygenases, whereas 15-epi-lipoxin production might involve CytP450 activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis
  • Leukotriene B4 / analysis
  • Leukotriene B4 / biosynthesis
  • Lipoxins / analysis
  • Lipoxins / biosynthesis
  • Lipoxins / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / immunology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology
  • Sputum / cytology
  • Sputum / immunology*


  • Interleukin-8
  • Lipoxins
  • lipoxin A4
  • Leukotriene B4