Saliva is one likely source of leukotriene B4 in exhaled breath condensate.Eur Respir J. 2006 Dec; 28(6):1229-35.ER
Leukotriene (LT)B4 in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) has been reported to be elevated in airway inflammation. The origin of leukotrienes in EBC is, however, not established. The aims of this study are to measure LTB4 levels in EBC collected in two challenges characterised by a strong neutrophilic airway inflammation and to compare LTB4 levels in EBC with levels in sputum and saliva. LTB4 and alpha-amylase were measured in EBC from 34 healthy subjects exposed in a pig confinement building or to a lipopolysaccharide provocation. These markers were also measured in induced sputum in 11 of the subjects. For comparison, LTB4 and alpha-amylase were measured in saliva from healthy subjects. Only four out of 102 EBC samples had detectable LTB4 (28-100 pg x mL(-1)). alpha-amylase activity was detected in the LTB4-positive samples. In contrast, LTB4 was detected in all examined sputum supernatants in the same study (median 1,190 pg x mL(-1)). The median LTB4 level in saliva was 469 pg x mL(-1). High levels of leukotriene B4 in saliva and the presence of leukotriene B4 in exhaled breath condensate only when alpha-amylase was detected, indicate that leukotriene B4 found in exhaled breath condensate is the result of saliva contamination. As leukotriene B4 was consistently present in sputum supernatants, exhaled breath condensate may be inappropriate for monitoring airway leukotriene B4.