The role of leukotriene B(4) in allergic diseases

Allergol Int. 2008 Dec;57(4):291-8. doi: 10.2332/allergolint.08-RAI-0019. Epub 2008 Dec 1.


Leukotriene B(4) (LTB(4)) is a lipid mediator with potent chemoattractant properties and that is rapidly generated from activated innate immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, and mast cells. Elevated levels of LTB(4) have been reported in various allergic diseases and these levels have been related to disease activity and response to treatment. Recent studies using LTB(4) receptor-1 (BLT1) antagonists or BLT1-deficient mice have revealed that ligation of BLT1 by LTB(4) is important for the activation and recruitment of inflammatory cells including neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes/macrophages, mast cells, dendritic cells, and more recently, effector T cells to inflamed tissues in various inflammatory diseases. The LTB(4)/BLT1 pathway appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of severe persistent asthma, aspirin- and exercise-induced asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis together with other mediators including cysteinyl leukotrienes, cytokines, and chemokines. LTB(4) production is in general resistant to corticosteroid treatment. In fact, corticosteroids can upregulate BLT1 expression on corticosteroid-resistant inflammatory cells such as neutrophils, monocytes, and effector memory CD8+ T cells. As a result, this corticosteroid-resistant LTB(4)/BLT1 pathway may contribute to the development of inflammation in allergic diseases that do not respond to the introduction of corticosteroids. Inhibition of this pathway has potential therapeutic benefit in various allergic diseases that have involvement of corticosteroid-insensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / metabolism
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / pathology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / therapy
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Leukotriene B4 / genetics
  • Leukotriene B4 / immunology
  • Leukotriene B4 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Leukotriene B4 / genetics
  • Receptors, Leukotriene B4 / immunology
  • Receptors, Leukotriene B4 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / pathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Cytokines
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fish Oils
  • Receptors, Leukotriene B4
  • Leukotriene B4