BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence to show that leukotrienes are important mediators in asthma. Leukotriene receptor antagonists protect against antigen and exercise challenges in patients with chronic asthma. A study was undertaken to investigate the activity of the leukotriene receptor antagonist pranlukast (SB 205312, ONO-1078) in blocking bronchoconstriction induced by leukotriene D4 (LTD4) inhalation. The selectivity of pranlukast was evaluated using histamine challenge. METHODS: Pranlukast, 450 mg twice daily, was given to eight healthy non-smoking men for five days in a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover study. The specific airways conductance (sGaw) was measured before and after bronchial provocation with inhaled LTD4 at 3.5 hours after the first dose and at 3.5 and 9.5 hours after the last dose of pranlukast on the morning of day 5. The concentration of LTD4 required to produce a fall in sGaw of 35% (PC35) was calculated. Subjects also underwent a histamine challenge 3.5 hours after a single dose of pranlukast, 450 mg, or placebo. RESULTS: A single dose of pranlukast produced a 10.6 fold increase in PC35sGaw (95% confidence interval (CI) 4.4 to 25.5; p < 0.001) for LTD4 at 3.5 hours after dosing compared with placebo. Three and a half hours after the morning dose of pranlukast on day 5 the PC35sGaw for LTD4 was increased 25.9 fold (95% CI 10.8 to 62.2; p < 0.001) and was still increased sevenfold (95% CI 2.9 to 16.7; p < 0.001) relative to placebo 9.5 hours after administration of the morning dose. No significant differences were noted for the PC35sGaw to histamine for pranlukast compared with placebo. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that pranlukast is a potent and selective LTD4 receptor antagonist in humans which blocks LTD4 challenge after initial and repeated administration when given twice daily for five days.
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