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Mol Immunol. 2015 Jul;66(1):97-105. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.12.005. Epub 2014 Dec 26.

Asthma "of horses and men"--how can equine heaves help us better understand human asthma immunopathology and its functional consequences?

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal, 3200 rue Sicotte, St-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada J2S 6C7.
2
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal, 3200 rue Sicotte, St-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada J2S 6C7. Electronic address: Jean-Pierre.Lavoie@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

Animal models have been studied to unravel etiological, immunopathological, and genetic attributes leading to asthma. However, while experiments in which the disease is artificially induced have helped discovering biological and molecular pathways leading to allergic airway inflammation, their contribution to the understanding of the causality of the disease has been more limited. Horses naturally suffer from an asthma-like condition called "heaves" which presents sticking similarities with human asthma. It is characterized by reversible airway obstruction, airway neutrophilic inflammation, and a predominant Th2 immune response. This model allows one to investigate the role of neutrophils in asthma, which remains contentious, the regulation of chronic neutrophilic inflammation, and their possible implication in pulmonary allergic responses. Furthermore, the pulmonary remodeling features in heaves closely resemble those of human asthma, which makes this model unique to investigate the kinetics, reversibility, as well as the physiological consequences of tissue remodeling. In conclusion, heaves and asthma share common clinical presentation and also important immunological and tissue remodeling features. This makes heaves an ideal model for the discovery of novel pathways implicated in the asthmatic inflammation and associated tissue remodeling.

KEYWORDS:

Airway remodeling; Animal model; Asthma; Horse; Immunology; Inflammation

PMID:
25547716
DOI:
10.1016/j.molimm.2014.12.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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