• Bronchoalveolary;
  • avage;
  • ung function;
  • Pulmonary inflammation

Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE 4) enzyme inhibitors have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in various animal disease processes and therefore could be effective drugs for the treatment of equine airway diseases. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of the PDE 4 inhibitor L-826,141 in horses with heaves. In a blinded parallel design, horses with heaves exposed daily to moldy hay were given a placebo for 14 days and then administered either L-826,141 (n = 6; loading dose of 1 mg/kg IV followed by 0.5 mg/kg IV q48h) or dexamethasone (n = 6; 0.04 mg/kg IV q24h) from days 15 to 29 (study 1). Pulmonary function and bronchoalveolar (BAL) cytology were evaluated weekly from baseline (day 0) to 29 days. In study 2, horses were treated with L-826,141 (1.0 mg/kg IV q24h) for 8 days. Although ex vivo lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and LTB4 production by fresh blood were inhibited up to 90% after repeated administrations of L-826,141, this treatment failed to improve lung function. In contrast, dexamethasone (positive control) treatment resulted in significant improvement in lung mechanics and airway function in all horses. Neither drug had a significant effect on BAL total cell counts and differential cytology. Administration of the PDE 4 inhibitor L-826,141 for up to 14 days to horses with heaves was not associated with an improvement in airway function or inflammation. These findings suggest that the PDE 4 enzyme is not a key mediator of lung inflammation in heaves.