Equine asthma (EA) is an inflammatory disease of the lower airways driven by mediators released from cells. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are vehicles for lipid mediators, which possess either pro-inflammatory or dual anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving functions. In this study, we investigated how the respiratory fatty acid (FA) profile reflects airway inflammatory status. The FA composition of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), BALF supernatant, and bronchoalveolar EVs of healthy horses (n = 15) and horses with mild/moderate EA (n = 10) or severe EA (SEA, n = 5) was determined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The FA profiles distinguished samples with different diagnoses in all sample types, yet they were insufficient to predict the health status of uncategorized samples. Different individual FAs were responsible for the discrimination of the diagnoses in different sample types. Particularly, in the EVs of SEA horses the proportions of palmitic acid (16:0) decreased and those of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) increased, and all sample types of asthmatic horses had elevated dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (20:3n-6) proportions. The results suggest simultaneous pro-inflammatory and resolving actions of FAs and a potential role for EVs as vehicles for lipid mediators in asthma pathogenesis. EV lipid manifestations of EA can offer translational targets to study asthma pathophysiology and treatment options.
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