Chronic exacerbation of equine heaves is associated with an increased expression of interleukin-17 mRNA in bronchoalveolar lavage cells

Marie Debrue, Emma Hamilton, Philippe Joubert, Stéphane Lajoie-Kadoch, Jean Pierre Lavoie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent finding suggests that T-cells may be involved in the pathogenesis of heaves in horses. However, little is known concerning their possible contribution to pulmonary neutrophilia, a characteristic finding in heaves. Interleukin (IL)-17 is a cytokine secreted by activated T-cells that indirectly promotes the maturation, chemotaxis and activation of neutrophils. We therefore hypothesized that IL-17 may be involved in the recruitment of neutrophils into the airways and that its mRNA expression would be increased in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells of horses with heaves. Heaves susceptible horses (n = 4) and control horses (n = 4) when in pasture (clinical remission) and after 35 days of continuous exposure to moldy hay were studied. BAL and respiratory mechanics measurements were performed at both time periods. The mRNA expression of IL-17 in BAL was studied using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and CD3-zeta was used as a marker of T-cell numbers. There was no significant difference in IL-17 mRNA expression between groups of horses while in pasture. However, stabling resulted in an increased expression of IL-17 in all horses with heaves but in none of the control horses. These preliminary results suggest that IL-17 may contribute in the pathogenesis of horses with heaves following chronic antigen challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 1 2005



  • Cytokine
  • Horses
  • IL-17
  • Lung
  • Neutrophils
  • Recurrent airway obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)

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