J Korean Med Sci.  2004 Oct;19(5):724-728. 10.3346/jkms.2004.19.5.724.

Increased Releasability of Skin Mast Cells after Exercise in Patients with Exercise-induced Asthma

  • 1Department of Allergy, Chonnam National University Medical School, Research Institute of Medical Science, Gwangju, Korea. ischoi@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr


The role of lung mast cells in exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is controversial. To investigate whether the skin mast cell releasability is increased after exercise in EIA, 49 young atopic men with or without asthma took part in a free-running test for 6 min and were given skin prick tests using morphine, a mast cell secretagogue, before and after the exercise. The mean diameters of the wheal induced by morphine in patients with EIA were not significantly different from those in patients without EIA before exercise, although the baseline lung function was significantly lower and the airway hyperresponsiveness, the peripheral blood eosinophil count, and the size of the wheal in response to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus were significantly higher in patients with EIA. However, the differences of the morphine-induced wheal diameter between patients with EIA and those without EIA became significant at 120 min after exercise (p<0.05), while the responses to histamine were not significantly different. These results suggest that exercise increases the releasability of skin mast cells in EIA patients whose asthma/allergy are relatively severe.


Asthma, Exercise-Induced; Histamine; Morphine; Mast Cells

MeSH Terms

Analgesics, Opioid/diagnostic use
Histamine/diagnostic use
Mast Cells/drug effects/*immunology
Morphine/diagnostic use
Skin Tests


  • Fig. 1 Relationship between the markers of severity of asthma/allergy (X-axes) and the degree of exercise-induced airway obstruction (Y-axes). FEV1, Forced expiratory volume in one second; PC20, Provocative concentration of methacholine resulting in a 20% fall in FEV1.

  • Fig. 2 The positive response rate to morphine skin prick test (≥2 mm in wheal size) in patients with exercise-induced asthma (EIA) (diamonds, n=24), patients without EIA (squares, n=14), and normal controls (triangles, n=11) after exercise. Skin prick tests were performed before and at 30-60 min and 120 min after exercise. *p<0.01 compared with normal controls, †p<0.05 compared with patients without EIA.


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