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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 6, Issue 5, Pages 453-457

Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists in the Treatment of Asthma: Implications for Eosinophilic Inflammation

Redwan Moqbel

Pulmonary Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recent advances in the treatment and management of asthma have suggested that leukotriene (LT) receptor antagonists may be very beneficial as a second generation therapy with steroid-sparing properties and negligible side effects. These agents have shown interesting effects on peripheral blood and sputum eosinophils. A major contributor to the damage in the airway of asthmatic patients is the eosinophil, which, upon activation, releases a battery of granule-associated cytotoxic, cationic proteins, including the major basic protein and eosinophil peroxidase, and membrane-derived de novo-synthesized bioactive lipid mediators, including LTC4, LTD4 and LTE4, as well as platelet activating factor. These products have deleterious effects on the airway tissue including mucosal and smooth muscle layers. Accumulating evidence suggests that these agents may also influence the accumulation and maintenance of eosinophilic responses at the site of inflammation. This article reviews the possible anti-inflammatory mode of action of these therapies. It also discusses where there may be a gap in the knowledge regarding the potential direct and indirect effects of LT modifiers on eosinophil function and recruitment.