The pathogenesis of aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is thought to be based on, mainly, overproduction of eicosanoid lipid mediators and on defective anti-inflammatory regulators. Aspirin desensitization treatment, the mainstay of controlling asthma and rhinitis in AERD patients, however, is the least understood aspect of the disease. The study was designed to determine the effect of aspirin desensitization on T-lymphocyte cytokine expression and on plasma lipoxin levels in AERD. Spirometry, skin-prick test and asthma control test were documented and intracellular cytokine expression in T lymphocytes and plasma lipoxin levels were measured in 23 AERD patients, 17 aspirin-tolerant asthmatic (ATA) patients, and 16 healthy controls. In the AERD group nasal symptom and smell scores were assessed. Of the 23 AERD patients 15 accepted to undergo aspirin desensitization protocol and 14 of them were desensitized successfully. In the desensitized AERD group, cytokine and lipoxin measurements were repeated after 1-month aspirin treatment. CD4(+) IL-10 levels were higher in AERD patients than in healthy controls and CD4(+) interferon (IFN) gamma levels were higher in AERD and ATA patients than in controls. Plasma lipoxin-A4 and 15-epi-lipoxin-A4 levels were similar among the three study groups. In the AERD group, subjects underwent aspirin desensitization followed by a 1-month aspirin treatment. Clinical parameters improved and CD4(+) IFN-gamma levels decreased significantly. No significant change in lipoxin levels was recorded. CD4(+) IFN-gamma and CD4(+) IL-10 levels in AERD patients after 1-month aspirin desensitization treatment were similar to the healthy controls. The study confirms aspirin desensitization is effective clinically in AERD patients and suggests that IFN gamma and IL-10 expression in CD4(+) T lymphocytes may be related to the mechanism of action.