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Exhaled bronchial cysteinyl leukotrienes in allergic patients

Failla, Marco; Crimi, Nunzio; Vancheri, Carlo

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: February 2007 - Volume 7 - Issue 1 - p 25–31
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e328012c570
Upper airway disease

Purpose of review To review the current knowledge of noninvasive monitoring of allergic airway inflammation by analysis of leukotrienes in the exhaled breath condensate.

Recent findings Treatment of respiratory allergies involves chronic treatment based on clinical symptoms and pulmonary function tests. Evaluation of local inflammation would be desirable but is currently not feasible because of the difficulty in sampling the airways. Recently, exhaled breath condensate collection and analysis has polarized much interest in the respiratory field. Although some methodological issues are still under scrutiny, airways inflammatory markers can be assayed with this technique. In particular, exhaled breath condensate leukotrienes have been thoroughly investigated in the setting of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis in adults and children. Exhaled leukotrienes are increased in patients with asthma and rhinitis during the pollen season, correlate with exacerbations and asthma severity, and are reduced by specific anti-inflammatory treatment and allergen avoidance.

Summary Some issues still prevent the use of exhaled breath condensate in clinical practice but in the research setting it has been proved to be useful for noninvasive monitoring of allergic inflammation in the lung. In particular, exhaled leukotrienes may represent valuable biomarkers for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in allergic patients.

Department of Internal and Specialist Medicine, Section of Respiratory Medicine, University of Catania, Catania, Italy

Correspondence to Professor Carlo Vancheri, MD, PhD, Università di Catania, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialistica, Sezione di Malattie Respiratorie. Ospedale ‘Ascoli-Tomaselli’, Via Passo Gravina, 187, 95125, Catania, Italy Tel: +39 095 7594503; fax: +39 095 7594502; e-mail:

Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.