Study: Nanoparticles to Deliver Therapy for Heaves in Horses

Study of horses with allergies showed a partial remission of allergy signs with nanoparticle administration
Please login

No account yet? Register


Scientists at Ludwig Maximilians University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine in Munich, Germany, are applying nanoscale molecule research in human allergy suppression to horses. In a recent study the team designed and administered a nanoparticleto deliver CpG-ODN (an immunostimulating DNA that has been shown to suppress allergies in humans) to horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, or heaves); the study yielded promising results.

"CpG-ODN works by producing an anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL 10) that modulates the immune system to ‘switch away’ from the allergy and inflammatory reaction," said researcher Heidrun Gehlen, PhD, DrMedVet, Dipl. ECEIM.

Immunotherapy is the treatment of disease by modulating the immune response. Its goal is to target the allergic response directly to suppress hyperallergic reactions involved in airway inflammation. Nanoparticles are man-made devices that can deliver immunotherapy directly to cells, targeting the specific molecular mechanisms of inflammation.

To test the nanoparticle’s ability to deliver the drug, the researchers measured the cytokine levels in washes from two groups of horses’ respiratory systems. A group of healthy horses and a group of RAO-affected horses inhaled an aerosol formulation of the nontoxic nanoparticle/drug combination, and the researchers examined them for clinical signs of recurrent airway obstruction

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Nancy Zacks holds an M.S. in Science Journalism from the Boston University College of Communication. She grew up in suburban Philadelphia where she learned to ride over fields and fences in nearby Malvern, Pa. When not writing, she enjoys riding at an eventing barn, drawing and painting horses, volunteering at a therapeutic riding program, and walking with Lilly, her black Labrador Retriever.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What signs does your horse show when he has gastric ulcers? Please check all that apply.
56 votes · 138 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!