Agents and Actions

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 69–76

Inhibition of arachidonic acid-induced ear oedema as a model for assessing topical anti-inflammatory compounds

  • A. Crummey
  • G. P. Harper
  • E. A. Boyle
  • F. R. Mangan
Immunosuppression and Inflammation

DOI: 10.1007/BF01965627

Cite this article as:
Crummey, A., Harper, G.P., Boyle, E.A. et al. Agents and Actions (1987) 20: 69. doi:10.1007/BF01965627


We have found that mouse ear oedema induced by the topical application of arachidonic acid is not a specific screen for compounds inhibiting the lipoxygenase or cyclo-oxygenase pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism. Although such compounds are able to reduce the oedema substantially, pharmacological agents such as histamine antagonists, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, free radical scavengers, and also various compounds not normally considered to have anti-inflammatory properties, can equally effectively reduce the oedema. A mutual potentiation of the effects of prostaglandins, leukotrienes and mast cell-derived histamine would allow many, but not all, of the active agents to be rationalised. The ability of compounds not influencing these three types of inflammatory mediators to reduce the oedematous response means the model is of limited value for directed screening.

Abbreviations used


5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid


leukotriene B4


norkihydroguaiaretic acid


non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs


nitroblue tetrazolium chloride


prostaglandin (E1, A2, etc.)




thromboxane B2

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Crummey
    • 1
  • G. P. Harper
    • 1
  • E. A. Boyle
    • 1
  • F. R. Mangan
    • 1
  1. 1.Beecham Pharmaceuticals Research DivisionMedicinal Research CentreHarlowUK