Role of leukotrienes in exercise-induced bronchoconstriction

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2009 Jan;9(1):18-25. doi: 10.1007/s11882-009-0003-8.


Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) refers to acute airflow obstruction that is triggered by a period of physical exertion. EIB occurs mainly in individuals with other features of asthma but is especially prominent in a subset of asthmatics with pronounced indirect airway hyperresponsiveness. Leukotrienes (LTs) play a critical role in the pathophysiology of EIB. Asthmatics who are susceptible to EIB have increased levels of cysteinyl LTs (cysLTs [ie, LTs C4, D4, and E4]) in induced sputum and exhaled breath condensate. Exercise challenge in individuals susceptible to this disorder initiates the sustained increase in cysLTs in the airways and an increase in the ratio of cysLTs to prostaglandin E(2). The effects of cysLTs leading to secreted mucin release and smooth muscle constriction may be mediated in part through activation of sensory nerves. Therapies that block cysLT production or the cysLT(1) receptor effectively reduce the severity of EIB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / metabolism
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / physiopathology*
  • Bronchoconstriction* / drug effects
  • Constriction, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Leukotrienes / physiology*
  • Sputum / metabolism


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Leukotriene Antagonists
  • Leukotrienes
  • Dinoprostone