Leukotrienes are potent constrictors of human bronchi

Nature. 1980 Dec 4;288(5790):484-6. doi: 10.1038/288484a0.


Slow reacting substance of anaphylaxis (SRS-A) is released by various stimuli, including immunological challenge, and has long been considered an important mediator of immediate hypersensitivity reactions, such as bronchoconstriction in allergic asthma. Recently, slow reacting substances from several tissues have been identified and characterized as members of a newly discovered group of substances, the leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are generated from arachidonic acid and other polyunsaturated fatty acids in a pathway initially involving a lipoxygenase-catalysed oxygenation at C-5 (Fig. 1). This differs from the synthesis of prostaglandins and thromboxanes, where the initial transformation of arachidonic acid is catalysed by a cyclo oxygenase (Fig. 1). Recently, leukotriene C4(LTC4:5(S)-hydroxy,6(R)-S-glutathionyl-7,9-trans, 11,14-cis-eicosatetraenoic acid) and D4(LTD4:5(S)-hydroxy,6(R)-S-cysteinyl-glycyl-7,9-trans,11,14-cis-eicosatetraenoic acid) were found to have biological effects in several bioassay systems, which are strikingly similar to those previously reported for impure extracts of SRS-A. Here we report the remarkable contractile activity of both LTC4 and LTD4 on isolated human bronchi, which further emphasizes the possibility that leukotrienes are potent mediators of bronchoconstriction in man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Autacoids / pharmacology*
  • Bronchi / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Histamine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Prostaglandins / physiology
  • SRS-A
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Autacoids
  • Prostaglandins
  • SRS-A
  • Histamine