Urinary leukotriene E4 after antigen challenge and in acute asthma and allergic rhinitis

Lancet. 1989 Mar 18;1(8638):584-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(89)91611-5.


The leukotrienes LTC4, D4, and E4 are potent bronchoconstrictor agents and are thought to have an important role in asthma. Urinary LTE4, a stable urinary end-product of LTC4 and LTD4, was measured, by means of high-performance liquid chromatography and radioimmunoassay. LTE4 excretion followed a log-normal distribution in twenty-nine healthy controls, with a geometric mean of 23.8 (95% confidence interval 19.9-28.2) ng/mmol creatinine. Urine was collected from eight atopic subjects for 3 h after antigen inhalation and a control urine collection was made a week later at the same time of day. Urinary LTE4 was significantly higher after antigen challenge than in the control sample (153.7 [87.1-271.3] vs 23.5 [13.7-69.5] ng/mmol creatinine; p less than 0.01). Urinary LTE4 was also measured in twenty patients with severe acute asthma and nine patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Mean urinary LTE4 was higher in the asthmatic patients (78.3 [46.5-131.8] ng/mmol creatinine) than in normal subjects (p less than 0.01), although there was substantial overlap into the normal range. The urinary LTE4 values of the rhinitis patients were within the normal range whether or not they had symptoms. LTC4 and LTD4 were also found in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from one of the three atopic subjects challenged with antigen before lavage, and in a single patient who underwent lavage after admission with severe acute asthma. These studies provide evidence that leukotrienes are released in vivo in man after antigen challenge and in acute asthma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / urine*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / analysis
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene E4
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mites / immunology
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / physiopathology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / urine*
  • SRS-A / analogs & derivatives*
  • SRS-A / urine
  • Skin Tests


  • SRS-A
  • Leukotriene E4