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  • Author or Editor: Undine Christmann x
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OBJECTIVE To evaluate the lipidomic profile of surfactant obtained from horses with asthma at various clinical stages and to compare results with findings for healthy horses exposed to the same conditions.

SAMPLE Surfactant samples obtained from 6 horses with severe asthma and 7 healthy horses.

PROCEDURES Clinical evaluation of horses and surfactant analysis were performed. Samples obtained from horses with severe asthma and healthy horses before (baseline), during, and after exposure to hay were analyzed. Crude surfactant pellets were dried prior to dissolution in a solution of isopropanol:methanol:chloroform (4:2:1) containing 7.5mM ammonium acetate. Shotgun lipidomics were performed by use of high-resolution data acquisition on an ion-trap mass spectrometer. Findings were analyzed by use of an ANOVA with a Tukey-Kramer post hoc test.

RESULTS Results of lipidomic analysis were evaluated to detect significant differences between groups of horses and among exposure statuses within groups of horses. Significantly increased amounts of cyclic phosphatidic acid (cPA) and diacylglycerol (DAG) were detected in surfactant from severely asthmatic horses during exposure to hay, compared with baseline and postexposure concentrations. Concentrations of cPA and DAG did not change significantly in healthy horses regardless of exposure status.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE cPA 16:0 and DAG 36:2 were 2 novel lipid mediators identified in surfactant obtained from asthmatic horses with clinical disease. These molecules were likely biomarkers of sustained inflammation. Further studies are needed to evaluate a possible correlation with disease severity and potential alterations in the plasma lipidomic profile of horses with asthma.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


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



To evaluate surfactant protein D (SP-D) concentrations in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from young healthy horses on pasture or housed in a typical barn.


20 young healthy horses.


Horses were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups (pasture, n = 10; barn, 10), and serum and BALF samples were collected for SP-D determination at baseline (all horses on pasture) and 2 weeks and 4 weeks after the barn group of horses was relocated from the pasture to the barn. Other evaluations included physical and tracheoscopic examinations. Findings were compared within and between groups.


Physical and tracheoscopic examinations, CBC, and serum biochemical analysis did not reveal evidence of respiratory disease, and no significant differences were present within and between groups. Serum SP-D concentrations did not significantly differ within and between groups, but BALF SP-D concentrations were significantly lower for the barn group at 2 weeks but not at 4 weeks, compared with baseline. The BALF SP-D concentration-to-BALF total protein concentration ratio was < 1.5 and did not significantly differ within and between groups.


A mild decrease was evident in the concentration of SP-D in the BALF collected from young healthy horses after 2 weeks of exposure to a barn environment. The clinical importance of this finding remains to be determined.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research