A study on the possible role of chymotrypsin in the aetiology of equine chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Thomson JR, McPherson EA, Lawson GH, Wooding P, Brown R.
Vet Immunol Immunopathol 1983 Apr;4(3):387-95


The chymotrypsin activity of seven batches of Micropolyspora faeni and of five batches of Aspergillus fumigatus culture extracts, prepared for inhalation challenge in horses, was assayed and was found to range between 0.29 and 1.45 units/mg protein and 0.02 and 0.20 units/mg protein respectively. Horses affected with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were challenged with two batches of each antigen which had different chymotrypsin activities and no significant correlations were found between the degree of response to challenge and the chymotrypsin activity of the antigens. Inhalation of two doses of nebulised, purified chymotrypsin over 4 days did not induce signs of respiratory disease in COPD-affected horses. However, repeated chymotrypsin inhalations after an interval of 3 weeks caused an exacerbation of signs of COPD in one horse. These studies suggest that, although repeated inhalation of purified chymotrypsin may induce respiratory hypersensitivity in horses, the chymotrypsin-like enzymes of M. faeni and A. fumigatus do not play a major role in the precipitation of clinical signs of equine COPD.