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  • Author or Editor: Craig D. Thatcher x
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Objective—To measure the ascorbic acid (AA) concentration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and cellular glutathione peroxidase (cGPx) activity in RBCs and WBCs from peripherally obtained blood and in cells from BALF to determine whether differences existed between the 2 major redox systems in recurrent airway obstruction (RAO)-affected and -nonaffected (control) horses and between systemic and local pulmonary responses in the glutathione redox system.

Animals—16 adult horses in pairs: 8 healthy (control) and 8 RAO-affected horses.

Procedures—Physical examination data and biological samples were collected from horses before (remission), during, and after (recovery) environmental challenge with dusty straw and hay. At each stage, BALF cell AA concentration and RBC, WBC, and BALF cell cGPx activity were measured.

Results—Compared with control horses, RAO-affected horses had significantly higher cGPx activity in RBCs at all points and in WBCs during remission and challenge. The BALF cell cGPx activity was higher in RAO-affected horses during recovery than during remission The BALF cell AA concentration did not differ significantly in control horses at any point, but total and free AA concentrations were significantly lower in RAO-affected horses during the challenge period than during remission and recovery periods.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—High cGPx activity suggested this redox system was upregulated during exposure to dusty straw and hay to combat oxidative stress, as AA was depleted in RAO-affected horses. The relative delay and lack of comparative increase in cGPx activity within the local environment (represented by BALF cells), compared with that in RBCs and WBCs, might contribute to disease in RAO-affected horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate the phospholipid composition and function of surfactant in horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) at various clinical stages and compare these properties with findings in horses without RAO.

Animals—7 horses with confirmed RAO and 7 without RAO (non-RAO horses).

Procedures—Pairs of RAO-affected and non-RAO horses were evaluated before, during, and after exposure to hay. Evaluations included clinical scoring, lung function testing, airway endoscopy, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) absolute and differential cell counts. Cell-free BALF was separated into crude surfactant pellet and supernatant by ultracentrifugation, and phospholipid and protein concentrations were determined. Phospholipid composition of crude surfactant pellets and surface tension were evaluated with high-performance liquid chromatography and a pulsating bubble surfactometer, respectively. Findings were compared statistically via mixed-effects, repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results—Total phospholipid concentration in BALF was lower in RAO-affected versus non-RAO horses at all sample collection times. In the RAO-affected group, total phospholipid concentration was lower during exposure to hay than before or after exposure. There were no significant differences in BALF protein concentration, percentages of phospholipid classes, or surface tension between or within groups of horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—All clinical stages of RAO-affected horses were characterized by low surfactant concentration in BALF. Exacerbation of RAO led to an additional decrease in surfactant concentration. Causes for low surfactant concentration in RAO-affected horses remain to be determined. Low phospholipid concentration may render RAO-affected horses more susceptible than unaffected horses to surfactant alterations and contribute to clinical disease status and progression.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research