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Biomarkers for Diagnosis of Feline Asthma

Nafe L, Declue AE, Lee-Fowler TM, et al. Evaluation of biomarkers in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid for discrimination between asthma and chronic bronchitis in cats. Am J Vet Res 2010;71:583-591.

Allergic asthma and chronic bronchitis are two common inflammatory conditions that affect the lower airways of cats. It is suggested that asthma in cats is allergic in nature and similar to human allergic asthma that is caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to inhaled aeroallergens. Chronic bronchitis is thought to be secondary to a previous insult (e.g., infection or inhaled irritants) that damages the airways. Because chronic asthma can damage airways, there is often overlap between these conditions. The study screened the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from a mix of 97 client-owned and research cats with naturally occurring asthma or chronic bronchitis and healthy control cats. The objective was to evaluate the BALF samples for concentrations of interleukin-4, interferin-gamma, tumor necrosis factor, and total nitric oxide metabolites as inflammatory biomarkers for discrimination between asthma and chronic bronchitis in cats. Current diagnostic tests in practice that attempt to differentiate these conditions include thoracic radiography and cytologic analysis of BALF. Both of these testing methods are problematic in discriminating between these diseases. The results of this particular study indicate that the inflammatory mediators investigated did not appear to be useful in differentiation between cats with naturally occurring allergic asthma and those with chronic bronchitis. The authors believe future studies should focus on validating a technique increasing the sensitivity of the currently available feline-specific cytokine assays to determine if this will overcome one possible limitation of the study. [VT]

Related articles:
Cohn LA, DeClue AE, Cohen RL, et al. Effects of fluticasone propionate dosage in an experimental model of feline asthma. J Feline Med Surg 2010;12:91-96.