Objective—To analyze effects of hay dust exposure on interleukin-8 (IL-8) concentration, percentage of neutrophils, and neutrophil chemotactic activity in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of horses with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Animals—16 healthy horses and 29 horses with COPD.
Procedure—IL-8 concentration, percentage of neutrophils, and neutrophil chemotactic activity in BALF were measured. Values were analyzed with respect to hay dust exposure. These variables were also measured in 5 asymptomatic horses with COPD after the induction of clinical signs by changing feed from silage to hay.
Results—IL-8 concentrations and chemotactic activity in BALF were greater in horses with COPD, compared with healthy horses, and greater in horses with COPD exposed to hay dust, compared with nonexposed affected horses. An increase in IL-8 concentration accompanied by an increase in percentage of neutrophils in BALF and development of clinical signs of COPD were induced in asymptomatic horses with COPD by changing feed from silage to hay.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Exposure of horses with COPD to hay dust components resulted in an increase in IL-8 secretion at the bronchoalveolar surface. This chemokine may play a role in the pathogenesis of COPD, because it causes neutrophil accumulation in the bronchoalveolar space. Our results underscore the importance of eliminating dust sources for the treatment and prevention of COPD in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1369–1374)