We examined airway responsiveness to aerosols of Ascaris suum, citric acid, and methacholine chloride in the offspring of two highly allergic breeds of dogs: Basenji-greyhounds (BG) and Basenjis (B). The BG parents had airway hyperresponsiveness to citric acid and methacholine, whereas the B parents did not. Both BG and B offspring were allergic as measured by many positive skin tests. BG offspring, like their parents, were hyperresponsive to citric acid and methacholine, whereas B offspring were not. We conclude that familial rather than environmental factors are important for the development of nonspecific airway hyperresponsiveness as well as allergy in the BG dog model of asthma. Allergic asthma in these animals represents a combination of two discrete processes: allergy and nonspecific airway hyperresponsiveness.
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