Objective—To evaluate time-dependent alterations in gene expression of chemokines in bronchial epithelium of recurrent airway obstruction (RAO)-affected horses and whether alterations resulted from increases in gene expression of interleukin (IL)-17 in cells isolated from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF).
Animals—8 RAO-susceptible horses and 9 control horses.
Procedure—In 2 experiments, both groups of horses were evaluated after being maintained on pasture and after being stabled and fed dusty hay for 1, 14, 35, and 49 days (experiment 1) or 14 and 28 days (experiment 2). In experiment 1, gene expression of IL-8, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 (CXCL1), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in epithelium and IL-8, IL-17, and TLR4 in BALF cells was measured. In experiment 2, bronchial biopsy specimens were evaluated for IL-8 immunoreactivity.
Results—In RAO-susceptible horses after 14 days of challenge exposure, there was a 3- and 10-fold increase in gene expression of IL-8 for epithelial and BALF cells and an increase in IL-8 immunoreactivity in epithelial cells. Challenge exposure failed to alter gene expression of CXCL1, GM-CSF, G-CSF, and TLR4 in epithelial cells of any horses at any time point. During challenge exposure, gene expression of BALF cell IL-17 was downregulated in control horses (day 1) and upregulated in RAO-affected horses (day 35).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Epithelial-derived IL-8 may promote airway neutrophilia, but the inciting stimulus is unlikely to be IL-17 because upregulation of this gene is subsequent to that of IL-8 in epithelial cells.