Objective—To determine variations in cytologic counts of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid attributable to month of collection, first and second aliquots, and left and right lung sites in horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO).
Animals—5 horses with RAO and 5 healthy horses without respiratory tract disease.
Procedures—Horses were housed in a stable for 5 months prior to and throughout the study. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected from the right and left lung of each horse 3 times at monthly intervals (February, March, and April). Each BAL fluid collection was performed by use of 2 incremental instillations of 250 mL of isotonic saline (0.9% NaCl) solution in the same bronchial site. Analysis of BAL fluid included volume of BAL fluid recovered, a CBC, and differential cytologic counts.
Results—Volume of BAL fluid recovered and cytologic counts did not differ in horses with RAO across time or between right and left lungs, except for the number of mast cells. Horses with RAO had significantly lower volumes of BAL fluid recovered, significantly lower percentages of macrophages and lymphocytes, and significantly higher percentages of neutrophils than did healthy horses. Despite individual variation, all horses with RAO had > 25% neutrophils throughout the study period.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite variation among horses, BAL fluid cytologic counts were repeatable over short and long periods and samples can be used for longitudinal studies as a diagnostic tool of pulmonary inflammation in horses with RAO.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate whether MgSO4 solution administered IV would improve the clinical signs and lung function of horses with severe asthma and potentiate the effects of salbutamol inhalation in those horses.
ANIMALS 6 adult horses with severe asthma.
PROCEDURES Asthmatic horses were used in 3 crossover design experiments (6 treatments/horse). Clinical scores for nasal flaring and the abdominal component associated with breathing and lung function were determined before and after administration of salbutamol (800 μg, by inhalation), MgSO4 solution (2.2 mg/kg/min, IV, over 20 minutes), and combined MgSO4-salbutamol treatment. The data were collected during experimental procedures to assess salbutamol inhalation versus mock inhalation, MgSO4 infusion versus infusion of saline (NaCl) solution (adjusted to the same osmolarity as the MgSO4 solution), and the combined MgSO4-salbutamol treatment versus salbutamol inhalation alone.
RESULTS Infusion of MgSO4 significantly improved clinical scores when administered alone or in combination with salbutamol inhalation. With the combination treatment, lung function improved, albeit not significantly. Tidal volume also increased following combined MgSO4-salbutamol treatment. Salbutamol alone significantly improved lung function, whereas saline solution administration and a mock inhalation procedure had no effect on the studied variables.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that MgSO4 infusion alone or in combination with salbutamol inhalation improved the clinical signs of severely asthmatic horses. The effects of MgSO4 were not associated with significant lung function improvement, which suggested that the changes observed were attributable to alterations in the horses' breathing patterns. Infusion of MgSO4 solution at the studied dose offers little advantage over currently used medications for the treatment of severe equine asthma.
OBJECTIVE To develop a method to maintain the initial phenotype of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells isolated from equine endobronchial biopsy specimens in long-term cell culture.
SAMPLE Endobronchial tissue specimens (8 to 10/horse) collected from the lungs of previously healthy horses at necropsy (n = 12) and endobronchial biopsy specimens collected from standing, sedated, heaves-affected horses in clinical remission of the disease (5) and control horses (4).
PROCEDURES A sampling protocol was developed to recover and maintain a contractile phenotype in ASM cells from endobronchial specimens from freshly harvested equine lungs and from healthy and heaves-affected horses. Immunologic techniques were used to evaluate the contractile phenotype of ASM cells in culture.
RESULTS Characteristic ASM cells were successfully cultured from endobronchial tissue or biopsy specimens from both healthy and heaves-affected horses, and their contractile phenotype was maintained for up to 7 passages. Moreover, the capacity of cells at the seventh passage to contract in a collagen gel in response to methacholine was maintained.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE ASM cells isolated from equine endobronchial tissue and biopsy specimens were able to maintain a contractile phenotype in long-term cell cultures, suggesting they could be used for tissue engineering and in vitro studies of equine ASM cells.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate in vitro phagocytosis and bactericidal activity of circulating blood neutrophils in horses with severe equine asthma and control horses and to determine whether circulating blood neutrophils in horses with severe equine asthma have an increase in expression of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and the chemokine interleukin (IL)-8 and a decrease in expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in response to bacteria.
ANIMALS 6 horses with severe equine asthma and 6 control horses.
PROCEDURES Circulating blood neutrophils were isolated from horses with severe equine asthma and control horses. Phagocytosis was evaluated by use of flow cytometry. Bactericidal activity of circulating blood neutrophils was assessed by use of Streptococcus equi and Streptococcus zooepidemicus as targets, whereas the cytokine mRNA response was assessed by use of a quantitative PCR assay.
RESULTS Circulating blood neutrophils from horses with severe equine asthma had significantly lower bactericidal activity toward S zooepidemicus but not toward S equi, compared with results for control horses. Phagocytosis and mRNA expression of TNF-α, IL-8, and IL-10 were not different between groups.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINCAL RELEVANCE Impairment of bactericidal activity of circulating blood neutrophils in horses with severe equine asthma could contribute to an increased susceptibility to infections.