Objective—To compare the effects of an orally administered corticosteroid (prednisone), an inhaled corticosteroid (flunisolide), a leukotriene-receptor antagonist (zafirlukast), an antiserotonergic drug (cyproheptadine), and a control substance on the asthmatic phenotype in cats with experimentally induced asthma.
Animals—6 cats with asthma experimentally induced by the use of Bermuda grass allergen (BGA).
Procedures—A randomized, crossover design was used to assess changes in the percentage of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF); airway hyperresponsiveness; blood lymphocyte phenotype determined by use of flow cytometry; and serum and BALF content of BGA-specific IgE, IgG, and IgA determined by use of ELISAs.
Results—Mean ± SE eosinophil percentages in BALF when cats were administered prednisone (5.0 ± 2.3%) and flunisolide (2.5 ± 1.7%) were significantly lower than for the control treatment (33.7 ± 11.1%). We did not detect significant differences in airway hyperresponsiveness or lymphocyte surface markers among treatments. Content of BGA-specific IgE in serum was significantly lower when cats were treated with prednisone (25.5 ± 5.4%), compared with values for the control treatment (63.6 ± 12.9%); no other significant differences were observed in content of BGA-specific immunoglobulins among treatments.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Orally administered and inhaled corticosteroids decreased eosinophilic inflammation in airways of cats with experimentally induced asthma. Only oral administration of prednisone decreased the content of BGAspecific IgE in serum; no other significant local or systemic immunologic effects were detected among treatments. Inhaled corticosteroids can be considered as an alternate method for decreasing airway inflammation in cats with asthma. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1121–1127)