Effects of a specific endothelin-1A antagonist on exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) in Thoroughbred horses

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Reasons for performing study:

During high intensity exercise, the very high pulmonary artery pressure (Ppa) experienced by Thoroughbred horses is considered a major factor in the aetiology of exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH). Recently, endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictive hormone, has been found to increase Ppa in horses at rest via binding to its ET-1A receptor subtype. In addition, plasma concentrations of ET-1 are increased in horses during and after high intensity exercise.


If ET-1 increases Ppa during exercise in the horse, administration of a specific ET-1A antagonist would decrease Ppa and therefore EIPH.


Saline (CON) or an ET-1A receptor antagonist, TBC3214 (3 mg/kg bwt i.v.; ANTAG) was administered to horses 1 h prior to maximal incremental exercise on a high-speed treadmill. Gas exchange measurements were made breath-by-breath and blood samples collected during each 1 min stage to determine blood gases, acid-base status and cardiac output. EIPH was determined via bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) ∽30 min after exercise.


The time to fatigue, gas exchange and cardiovascular responses were not different between groups (P>0.05). Resting and peak Ppa did not differ significantly between treatments. Most importantly, ANTAG did not decrease EIPH.


These results do not support a deterministic role for ET-1 in the increased Ppa and therefore EIPH, during maximal exercise in the equine athlete.

Potential relevance:

Treatment with an ET-1A receptor antagonist does not appear to be a viable therapeutic intervention in the prevention of EIPH.

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