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Original Research: ASTHMA |

Increased Leukotriene E4 in the Exhaled Breath Condensate of Children With Mild Asthma*

Atsushi Shibata, MD; Toshio Katsunuma, MD, PhD; Morimitsu Tomikawa, MD; Aiko Tan, MD; Keisuke Yuki, PhD; Kenichi Akashi, MD; Yoshikatsu Eto, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Pediatrics, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Correspondence to: Toshio Katsunuma, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, The Jikei University School of Medicine, 3-25-8, Nishi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-8461, Japan; e-mail: tkatsunuma@jikei.ac.jp



Chest. 2006;130(6):1718-1722. doi:10.1378/chest.130.6.1718
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Background: Chronic airway inflammation is a feature of asthma. Increased levels of cysteinyl leukotrienes (cys-LTs; leukotriene [LT]C4, LTD4, LTE4) have been shown in the exhaled breath condensate (EBC) of children with moderate-to-severe asthma. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between EBC cys-LTs (LTE4) levels and bronchial hyperreactivity in children with mild asthma in order to evaluate the clinical utility of measuring EBC cys-LTs levels.

Methods: We measured LTE4 levels in the EBC of children aged 8 to 18 years, including healthy nonasthmatic children (n = 6) and children with mild asthma (n = 37). Patients with mild asthma were classified into the following three groups: group 1, participants who had been asymptomatic (no wheezing/symptoms of asthma) for > 6 months prior to examination (n = 12); group 2, participants who were asymptomatic but had had wheezing/symptoms of asthma within 6 months before examination (n = 18); and group 3, patients with current wheeze and/or mild symptoms of asthma exacerbation at the time of examination.

Results: Exhaled LTE4 levels were increased in all children with mild asthma compared with nonasthmatic control subjects (5.69 ± 9.62 pg/20 min vs 0.74 ± 0.79 pg/20 min, p < 0.05) [mean ± SD]. In particular, the EBC LTE4 levels in group 2 (4.99 ± 6.70 pg/20 min) and group 3 (14.66 ± 17.11 pg/20 min) were increased compared with control subjects and group 1 (1.50 ± 1.69 pg/20 min). The EBC LTE4 levels negatively correlated with the provocative concentration of methacholine causing a 15% fall in FEV1 (r = − 0.454, p = 0.012).

Conclusion: EBC cys-LTs may be useful as a noninvasive marker assessing airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in children with asthma.

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