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Klier, Johny; Lehmann, B.; Fuchs, S.; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Hirschmann, A.; Coester, C.; Winter, G.; Gehlen, Heidrun (2015): Nanoparticulate CpG Immunotherapy in RAO- Affected Horses: Phase I and IIa Study. In: Journal of veterinary internal medicine, Vol. 29, No. 1: pp. 286-293


Background: Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), an asthma-like disease, is 1 of the most common allergic diseases in horses in the northern hemisphere. Hypersensitivity reactions to environmental antigens cause an allergic inflammatory response in the equine airways. Cytosine-phosphate-guanosine-oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-ODN) are known to direct the immune system toward a Th1-pathway, and away from the pro-allergic Th2-line (Th2/Th1-shift). Gelatin nanoparticles (GNPs) are biocompatible and biodegradable immunological inert drug delivery systems that protect CpG-ODN against nuclease degeneration. Preliminary studies on the inhalation of GNP-bound CpG-ODN in RAO-affected horses have shown promising results. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and immunological effects of GNP-bound CpG-ODN in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, prospective, randomized clinical trial and to verify a sustained effect post-treatment. Animals and Methods: Twenty-four RAO-affected horses received 1 inhalation every 2 days for 5 consecutive administrations. Horses were examined for clinical, endoscopic, cytological, and blood biochemical variables before the inhalation regimen (I), immediately afterwards (II), and 4 weeks post-treatment (III). Results: At time points I and II, administration of treatment rather than placebo corresponded to a statistically significant decrease in respiratory effort, nasal discharge, tracheal secretion, and viscosity, AaDO2 and neutrophil percentage, and an increase in arterial oxygen pressure. Conclusion and Clinical Importance: Administration of a GNP-bound CpG-ODN formulation caused a potent and persistent effect on allergic and inflammatory-induced clinical variables in RAO-affected horses. This treatment, therefore, provides an innovative, promising, and well-tolerated strategy beyond conventional symptomatic long-term therapy and could serve as a model for asthma treatment in humans.