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Am J Vet Res. 1995 May;56(5):562-7.

Cytologic evaluation of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from standardbred racehorses with inflammatory airway disease.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1089, USA.


Cytologic examination of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), including phenotypic analysis of lymphocytes, was performed on 32 Standardbreds with poor race performance and endoscopic examination findings characteristic of inflammatory airway disease (IAD). Nucleated cell counts in BALF from IAD-affected horses were higher than those in control horses; the cytologic profile of BALF in affected horses included mixed inflammation, characterized by mild neutrophilia, lymphocytosis, and monocytosis. Eosinophil and mast cell counts were not higher in the IAD-affected group, compared with those in the control group; however, 4 IAD-affected horses had marked eosinophilia (24.7 +/- 4.8% SEM) in BALF. Phenotypic analysis of lymphocytes in BALF obtained from IAD-affected horses revealed a low proportion of CD4-positive cells and B cells, compared with those in the control group; these findings may have been representative of a greater proportion of non-B, non-T cells (null cells) in horses with IAD. The cytologic profile of BALF obtained from horses with IAD differed from that in horses affected with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, suggesting that the pathogenesis of inflammation in horses with IAD may differ from that of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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