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Mucosal distribution of eosinophilic granulocytes within the gastrointestinal tract of horses

Anna K. Rötting Dr med vet, PhD1, David E. Freeman MVB, PhD2, Peter D. Constable BVSc, PhD3, Jo Ann C. Eurell DVM, PhD4, and Matthew A. Wallig DVM, PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

Abstract

Objectives—To establish reference values for the range of the number of eosinophils found in equine gastrointestinal mucosa and to describe the distribution of this cell within the equine gastrointestinal mucosa.

Sample Population—Gastrointestinal mucosal specimens from 14 adult horses euthanatized for reasons other than gastrointestinal disease.

Procedures—Gastrointestinal mucosal specimens were collected and grouped according to their anatomic regions. For histologic examination slides were stained with Luna's eosinophil stain to determine eosinophil accumulation and distribution. The mucosa was divided into 5 sections for each anatomic location, and the percentage of eosinophils in each of the 5 sections relative to the total eosinophil count in all sections was determined. Additionally, the number of eosinophils per square millimeter of mucosa was calculated as a measure of the degree of eosinophil accumulation.

Results—Lowest numbers of eosinophils were found in the stomach, and numbers increased from there to the cecum, then decreased from the ascending colon (right ventral colon, left ventral colon, pelvic flexure, left dorsal colon, and right dorsal colon) to small colon. In all gastrointestinal sections, most eosinophils were located near the muscularis mucosae and were rarely found near or on the luminal surface of the mucosa.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The distribution of eosinophils in the gastrointestinal tract of horses followed a pattern within the mucosa and between different sections of the gastrointestinal tract. The derived reference values and distribution data could be used to detect changes in eosinophil response in the equine gastrointestinal mucosa caused by diseases states.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Rötting's present address is Equine Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany.

Dr. Freeman's present address is Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Box 100136, Gainesville, FL 32610.

Dr. Constable's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Address correspondence to Dr. Rötting.