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Concept: Leukotriene


Mast cell-derived mediators mediate several of the pathological features of asthma. Microbial infections induce asthma exacerbations in which the contribution of mast cells remains incomprehensible.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Asthma, Cell biology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Leukotriene


BACKGROUND & AIMS: The endocannabinoid and eicosanoid lipid signaling pathways have important roles in inflammatory syndromes. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) links these pathways, hydrolyzing the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol to generate the arachidonic acid precursor pool for prostaglandin production. We investigated whether blocking MAGL protects against inflammation and damage from hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) and other insults. METHODS: We analyzed the effects of hepatic I/R in mice given the selective MAGL inhibitor JZL184, in Mgll-/-mice, FAAH-/- mice, and in Cnr1(-/-)and Cnr2(-/-)mice, which have disruptions in the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB(½)). Liver tissues were collected and analyzed, along with cultured hepatocytes and Kupffer cells. We measured endocannabinoids, eicosanoids, and markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell death using molecular biology, biochemistry, and mass spectrometry analyses. RESULTS: Wild-type mice given JZL184 and Mgll-/- mice were protected from hepatic I/R injury by a mechanism that involved increased endocannabinoid signaling via CB(2) and reduced production of eicosanoids in the liver. JZL184 suppressed the inflammation and oxidative stress that mediate hepatic I/R injury. Hepatocytes were the major source of hepatic MAGL activity and endocannabinoid and eicosanoid production. JZL184 also protected from induction of liver injury by D-(+)-galactosamine and lipopolysaccharides or CCl(4). CONCLUSIONS: MAGL promotes hepatic injury via endocannabinoid and eicosanoid signaling; blockade of this pathway protects mice from liver injury. MAGL inhibitors might be developed to treat for conditions that expose the liver to oxidative stress and inflammatory damage.

Concepts: Inflammation, Liver, Lipid, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin, Leukotriene, Arachidonic acid, Monoacylglycerol lipase


Montelukast, a selective leukotriene receptor antagonist, is recommended in guidelines for the treatment of asthma in both children and adults. However, its effectiveness is debated, and recent studies have reported several adverse events such as neuropsychiatric disorders and allergic granulomatous angiitis. This study aims to obtain more insight into the safety profile of montelukast and to provide prescribing physicians with an overview of relevant adverse drug reactions in both children and adults. We retrospectively studied all adverse drug reactions on montelukast in children and adults reported to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Center Lareb and the WHO Global database, VigiBase(®) until 2016. Depression was reported most frequently in the whole population to the global database VigiBase(®) (reporting odds ratio (ROR) 6.93; 95% CI: 6.5-7.4). In the VigiBase(®) , aggression was reported the most in children (ROR, 29.77; 95% CI: 27.5-32.2). Headaches were reported the most frequently to the Dutch database (ROR, 2.26; 95% CI: 1.61-3.19). Furthermore, nightmares are often reported for both children and adults to the Dutch and the global database. Eight patients with allergic granulomatous angiitis were reported to the Dutch database and 563 patients in the VigiBase(®) . These data demonstrate that montelukast is associated with neuropsychiatric adverse drug reactions such as depression and aggression. Especially in children nightmares are reported frequently. Allergic granulomatous angiitis is also reported, a causal relationship has not been established.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Asthma, Receptor, Ligand, Receptor antagonist, Adverse drug reaction, Netherlands, Leukotriene


The Influenza A virus (IAV) is a major human pathogen that produces significant morbidity and mortality. To explore the contribution of alveolar macrophages (AlvMΦs) in regulating the severity of IAV infection we employed a murine model in which the Core Binding Factor Beta gene is conditionally disrupted in myeloid cells. These mice exhibit a selective deficiency in AlvMΦs. Following IAV infection these AlvMΦ deficient mice developed severe diffuse alveolar damage, lethal respiratory compromise, and consequent lethality. Lethal injury in these mice resulted from increased infection of their Type-1 Alveolar Epithelial Cells (T1AECs) and the subsequent elimination of the infected T1AECs by the adaptive immune T cell response. Further analysis indicated AlvMΦ-mediated suppression of the cysteinyl leukotriene (cysLT) pathway genes in T1AECs in vivo and in vitro. Inhibition of the cysLT pathway enzymes in a T1AECs cell line reduced the susceptibility of T1AECs to IAV infection, suggesting that AlvMΦ-mediated suppression of this pathway contributes to the resistance of T1AECs to IAV infection. Furthermore, inhibition of the cysLT pathway enzymes, as well as blockade of the cysteinyl leukotriene receptors in the AlvMΦ deficient mice reduced the susceptibility of their T1AECs to IAV infection and protected these mice from lethal infection. These results suggest that AlvMΦs may utilize a previously unappreciated mechanism to protect T1AECs against IAV infection, and thereby reduce the severity of infection. The findings further suggest that the cysLT pathway and the receptors for cysLT metabolites represent potential therapeutic targets in severe IAV infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Gene, Bacteria, Virus, Cell biology, Influenza vaccine, Leukotriene


Smoking is associated with worse asthma outcomes and may modify airway inflammation. Such modification may be mediated through an effect on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2 ) and cysteinyl leukotrienes (Cyst-LTs).

Concepts: Inflammation, Asthma, Fever, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin E2, Prostaglandin, Leukotriene, Prostaglandins


Allergic rhinitis is the most common atopic disorder seen in ENT clinics. It is diagnosed by history, physical exam and objective testing. Patient education, environmental control measures, pharmacotherapy, and allergen-specific immunotherapy are the cornerstones of allergic rhinitis treatment and can significantly reduce the burden of disease. Current treatment guidelines include antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, oral and intranasal decongestants, intranasal anticholinergics, intranasal cromolyn, and leukotriene receptor antagonists. In the mechanism of allergic rhinitis, histamine is responsible for major allergic rhinitis symptoms such as rhinorrhea, nasal itching and sneezing. Its effect on nasal congestion is less evident. In contrast, leukotrienes result in increase in nasal airway resistance and vascular permeability. Antihistamines and leukotriene receptor antagonists are commonly used in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. The published literature about combined antihistamines and leukotriene antagonists in mono- or combination therapy is reviewed and presented.

Concepts: Asthma, Sinusitis, Allergy, Mast cell, Rhinitis, Leukotriene, Montelukast, Leukotriene antagonist


Introduction: Cytochromes P450 (P450) and associated monooxygenases are a family of heme proteins involved in metabolism of endogenous compounds (arachidonic acid, eicosanoids and prostaglandins) as also xenobiotics including drugs and environmental chemicals. Liver is the major organ involved in P450-mediated metabolism and hepatic enzymes have been characterized. Extrahepatic organs, such as lung, kidney and brain have the capability for biotransformation through P450 enzymes. Brain, including human brain, expresses P450 enzymes that metabolize xenobiotics and endogenous compounds. Areas covered: An overview of P450-mediated metabolism in brain is presented focusing on distinct differences seen in expression of P450 enzymes, generation of unique P450 enzymes in brain through alternate splicing and their consequences in terms of metabolism of psychoactive drugs and inflammatory prompts, such as leukotrienes, thus modulating inflammatory response. Expert opinion: The brain possesses unique P450s that metabolize drugs and endogenous compounds through pathways that are markedly different from that seen in liver indicating that extrapolation directly from liver to brain is not appropriate. It is therefore necessary to characterize the unique brain P450s and their ability to metabolize xenobiotics and endogenous compounds to better understand the functions of this important class of enzymes in brain, especially human brain.

Concepts: Inflammation, Brain, Metabolism, Cytochrome P450, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin, Leukotriene, Arachidonic acid


Asthma is one of the most common conditions seen in clinical practice and carries both a significant disease burden in terms of patient morbidity and a high economic burden in both direct and indirect costs. Despite this, it remains a comparatively poorly understood disease, with only modest advances in treatment over the past decade. Corticosteroids remain the cornerstone of therapy. Both patient compliance with medications and physician adherence to evidence-based guidelines are often poor, and a high percentage of patients continue to have inadequately controlled disease even with optimal therapy. Following a contextual overview of the current treatment guidelines, this review focuses on novel asthma therapies, beginning with the introduction of the leukotriene receptor antagonist zafirlukast in the 1990s, continuing through advanced endoscopic therapy and into cytokine-directed biologic agents currently in development. Along with clinically relevant biochemistry and pharmacology, the evidence supporting the place of these therapies in current guidelines will be highlighted along with data comparing these agents with more conventional treatment. A brief discussion of other drugs, such as those developed for unrelated conditions and subsequently examined as potential asthma therapies, is included.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Asthma, Receptor antagonist, Leukotriene, Montelukast, Leukotriene antagonist, Zafirlukast


NSAIDs that inhibit cyclooxygenase-1 can provoke severe asthma and rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and eosinophil infiltration. Cysteinyl leukotriene generation by the leukotriene C4 synthase pathway may cause the bronchoconstriction, vascular leak, and mucous secretion.

Concepts: Inflammation, Diseases and disorders, Asthma, Glutathione, Mucus, Eicosanoid, Leukotriene, Leukotriene antagonist


Proinflammatory eicosanoids (prostaglandins and leukotrienes) and specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) are temporally regulated during infections. Here we show that human macrophage phenotypes biosynthesize unique lipid mediator signatures when exposed to pathogenic bacteria. E. coli and S. aureus each stimulate predominantly proinflammatory 5-lipoxygenase (LOX) and cyclooxygenase pathways (i.e., leukotriene B4 and prostaglandin E2) in M1 macrophages. These pathogens stimulate M2 macrophages to produce SPMs including resolvin D2 (RvD2), RvD5, and maresin-1. E. coli activates M2 macrophages to translocate 5-LOX and 15-LOX-1 to different subcellular locales in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Neither attenuated nor non-pathogenic E. coli mobilize Ca2+ or activate LOXs, rather these bacteria stimulate prostaglandin production. RvD5 is more potent than leukotriene B4 at enhancing macrophage phagocytosis. These results indicate that M1 and M2 macrophages respond to pathogenic bacteria differently, producing either leukotrienes or resolvins that further distinguish inflammatory or pro-resolving phenotypes.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Pathogen, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin, Leukotriene, Arachidonic acid