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Combination therapy of tiotropium and ciclesonide attenuates airway inflammation and remodeling in a guinea pig model of chronic asthma

Kistemaker LEM, Bos IST, Menzen MH, Maarsingh H, Meurs H & Gosens R.
Resp Res 2016 Feb 4.



Background: The long-acting anticholinergic tiotropium has recently been registered for the treatment of asthma, and its use is associated with a reduction in exacerbation frequency. Anti-inflammatory and anti-remodeling effects of tiotropium have been demonstrated in in vitro and in vivo models. Because tiotropium treatment is used in combination with inhaled corticosteroids, potential additive effects between the two would be clinically relevant. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate additive effects between tiotropium and ciclesonide on airway inflammation and remodeling in guinea pig models of asthma.

Methods: Guinea pigs (n = 3-8/group) were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin in an acute (single challenge) and a chronic model (12 weekly challenges) of allergic asthma. Animals were treated with vehicle, nebulized tiotropium (0.01-0.3 mM) and/or intranasally instilled ciclesonide (0.001-1 mg/kg) before each challenge. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lungs were collected for analysis of airway inflammation and remodeling.

Results: Tiotropium and ciclesonide treatment, alone or in combination, did not inhibit airway inflammation in the acute asthma model. In a dose-finding study, low doses of tiotropium and ciclesonide inhibited airway eosinophilia and airway smooth muscle thickening in the chronic asthma model. Threshold doses of 0.01 mM tiotropium (nebulizer concentration) and 0.01 mg/kg ciclesonide were selected to investigate potential additive effects between both drugs. At these doses, tiotropium and ciclesonide did not inhibit airway eosinophilia or airway smooth muscle thickening when administered alone, but significantly inhibited these allergen-induced responses when administered in combination.

Conclusions: Combined treatment with low doses of tiotropium and ciclesonide inhibits airway inflammation and remodeling in a guinea pig model of chronic asthma, suggesting that combined treatment with anticholinergics and corticosteroids may have anti-inflammatory and anti-remodeling activity in allergic airway diseases. Since tiotropium is registered as a therapy for asthma added on to corticosteroid treatment, these beneficial effects of the combination therapy may be clinically relevant.