Journal of inflammation (London, England)

Effects of nebulized ketamine on allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in actively sensitized Brown-Norway rats.

PMID 17480224


Since airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and allergic inflammatory changes are regarded as the primary manifestations of asthma, the main goals of asthma treatment are to decrease inflammation and maximize bronchodilation. These goals can be achieved with aerosol therapy. Intravenous administration of the anesthetic, ketamine, has been shown to trigger bronchial smooth muscle relaxation. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of ketamine may protect against lung injury. However, ketamine inhalation might yield the same or better results at higher airway and lower ketamine plasma concentrations for the treatment of asthma. Here, we studied the effect of ketamine inhalation on bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation in a Brown-Norway rat model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic asthma. Animals were actively sensitized by subcutaneous injection of OVA and challenged by repeated intermittent (thrice weekly) exposure to aerosolized OVA for two weeks. Before challenge, the sensitized rats received inhalation of aerosol of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or aerosol of ketamine or injection of ketamine respectivity. Airway reactivity to acetylcholine (Ach) was measured in vivo, and various inflammatory markers, including Th2 cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and nitric oxide (NO) in lungs were examined. Our results revealed that delivery of aerosolized ketamine using an ultrasonic nebulizer markedly suppressed allergen-mediated airway hyperreactivity, airway inflammation and airway inflammatory cell infiltration into the BALF, and significantly decreased the levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4) in the BALF and expression of iNOS and the concentration of NO in the inflamed airways from OVA-treated rats. These findings collectively indicate that nebulized ketamine attenuated many of the central components of inflammatory changes and AHR in OVA-provoked experimental asthma, potentially providing a new therapeutic approach against asthma.