Eoxins: a new inflammatory pathway in childhood asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Oct;126(4):859-867.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.07.015.


Background: Increased levels of leukotrienes (LTs) in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) are associated with asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), whereas eicosanoids generated through the 15-lipoxygenase (LO) pathway (15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid [HETE] and eoxins) have been less studied.

Objective: We investigated whether metabolites of the 5- and 15-LO pathways in EBC are associated with childhood asthma, asthma severity, and clinical parameters.

Methods: The present study included 131 school-aged children (27 children with problematic severe asthma, 80 children with mild-to-moderate asthma, and 24 healthy children) from the Severe Asthma Recognized in Childhood study and 19 children with other nonasthmatic chronic lung diseases. Clinical work-up included spirometry, fractional exhaled nitric oxide measurements, skin prick testing, and methacholine challenge. Eicosanoids were analyzed in EBC by using mass spectrometry and are reported as concentrations (in picograms per milliliter) and eicosanoid/palmitic acid (PA) ratios.

Results: Eoxin C₄/PA, eoxin D₄/PA, eoxin E₄/PA, 15-HETE/PA, and LTC₄/PA ratios were significantly increased in asthmatic versus healthy children. Eoxin D₄/PA and LTE₄/PA ratios were also significantly higher in children with BHR. A nonsignificant trend was observed toward higher eoxin/PA ratios with increasing asthma severity. In contrast to asthma, children with chronic lung disease had the highest 15-HETE/PA, LTC₄/PA, LTE₄/PA, and LTB₄/PA ratios.

Conclusion: The results point to increased activity of the 15-LO inflammatory pathway in childhood asthma. Mass spectrometric analyses of EBC demonstrate that increased eoxin levels not only accompany the increased 5-LO product LTC₄ but are also associated with BHR. These markers might represent a new therapeutic target for asthma treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arachidonate 15-Lipoxygenase / metabolism*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Breath Tests
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic Acids / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Leukotriene C4 / metabolism
  • Leukotriene E4 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Leukotriene E4 / metabolism
  • Leukotrienes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • 14-cysteinyl-15-hydroxy-5,8,10,12-eicosatetraenoic acid
  • Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic Acids
  • Leukotrienes
  • eoxin C4
  • Leukotriene C4
  • 15-hydroxy-5,8,11,13-eicosatetraenoic acid
  • Leukotriene E4
  • Arachidonate 15-Lipoxygenase