Regulation of leukotriene and 5oxoETE synthesis and the effect of 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors: a mathematical modeling approach

BMC Syst Biol. 2012 Nov 12;6:141. doi: 10.1186/1752-0509-6-141.


Background: 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) is a key enzyme in the synthesis of leukotrienes and 5-Oxo-6E,8Z,11Z,14Z-eicosatetraenoic acid (oxoETE). These inflammatory signaling molecules play a role in the pathology of asthma and so 5-LO inhibition is a promising target for asthma therapy. The 5-LO redox inhibitor zileuton (Zyflo IR/CR(®)) is currently marketed for the treatment of asthma in adults and children, but widespread use of zileuton is limited by its efficacy/safety profile, potentially related to its redox characteristics. Thus, a quantitative, mechanistic description of its functioning may be useful for development of improved anti-inflammatory targeting this mechanism.

Results: A mathematical model describing the operation of 5-LO, phospholipase A2, glutathione peroxidase and 5-hydroxyeicosanoid dehydrogenase was developed. The catalytic cycles of the enzymes were reconstructed and kinetic parameters estimated on the basis of available experimental data. The final model describes each stage of cys-leukotriene biosynthesis and the reactions involved in oxoETE production. Regulation of these processes by substrates (phospholipid concentration) and intracellular redox state (concentrations of reduced glutathione, glutathione (GSH), and lipid peroxide) were taken into account. The model enabled us to reveal differences between redox and non-redox 5-LO inhibitors under conditions of oxidative stress. Despite both redox and non-redox inhibitors suppressing leukotriene A4 (LTA4) synthesis, redox inhibitors are predicted to increase oxoETE production, thus compromising efficacy. This phenomena can be explained in terms of the pseudo-peroxidase activity of 5-LO and the ability of lipid peroxides to transform 5-LO into its active form even in the presence of redox inhibitors.

Conclusions: The mathematical model developed described quantitatively different mechanisms of 5-LO inhibition and simulations revealed differences between the potential therapeutic outcomes for these mechanisms.

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase / metabolism*
  • Arachidonic Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Leukotriene A4 / biosynthesis*
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phospholipases A2 / metabolism


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Leukotriene A4
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors
  • 5-oxo-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase
  • Phospholipases A2