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RECURRENT airway obstruction (RAO) or heaves is a chronic respiratory disease that affects mature horses. It is characterised by neutrophilic inflammation and delayed neutrophilic apoptosis (Turlej and others 2001) leading to lower airway inflammation, bronchoconstriction and mucus accumulation. Curcumin has been demonstrated to have a potent inhibitory effect on neutrophilic migration and myeloperoxidase (MPO) release and to induce neutrophilic apoptosis (Hu and others 2005). However, due to its low bioavailability and solubility, its clinical use is limited (Anand and others 2007). The aim of the study was to test the effects of inhalation with the modified highly soluble curcumin derivate NDS27 (World Intellectual Property Organization 2009), on clinical signs, broncho-alveolar lavage fluids (BALF) cytology, and lung function in RAO-affected horses.
Five RAO-susceptible horses from the University of Liege's research horses' herd were used for this blinded randomised cross-over study. The study was approved by the Committee for the Use of Animals of the University of Liege (approval number 611). Horses were kept on low dust wood shavings and were fed with haylage before the experiments and during the two-month wash-out period. Clinical exacerbation of RAO was induced by exposure to dusty hay in all five horses on two different occasions, two months apart. Environmental conditions were maintained during the whole treatment period. All measurements were performed before (T1) and after a treatment …