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Molecular, histologic, and trace mineral characterization of metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joint hyperextension in juvenile llamas

Stacy A. Semevolos DVM, MS1 and Shannon K. Reed DVM, MS2
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate molecular and histologic characteristics of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT), deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), and suspensory ligament (SL) and assess trace-mineral concentrations in serum, liver, and hair of juvenile llamas with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joint hyperextension.

Animals—12 juvenile llamas (6 with bilateral hyperextension of metacarpophalangeal joints, metatarsophalangeal joints, or both and 6 clinically normal control llamas).

Procedures—Radiography and ultrasonography of metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal regions were performed. Llamas were euthanized, and SDFT, DDFT, and SL samples were collected for histologic evaluation of collagen and elastin content and orientation, proteoglycan content, and collagen type III immunohistochemistry. Total RNA was isolated from SL tissue, and gene expression of collagen types I and III, lysyl oxidase, and matrix metalloproteinase-13 was evaluated via real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR assay. Liver, serum, and hair samples were evaluated for trace mineral content.

Results—Collagen type III gene expression and proteoglycan content were significantly increased in SL samples of affected juvenile llamas, compared with those of control llamas. No difference was detected in collagen and elastin content and orientation or in gene expression of collagen type I, lysyl oxidase, or matrix metalloproteinase-13 between groups. Affected llamas had significantly increased serum molybdenum and decreased liver cobalt concentrations, compared with values for control llamas.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increased collagen type III gene expression and proteoglycan content in SL samples of affected juvenile llamas provided evidence of ongoing SL matrix repair. Trace mineral differences may have been attributable to dietary imbalances in affected llamas.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate molecular and histologic characteristics of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT), deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), and suspensory ligament (SL) and assess trace-mineral concentrations in serum, liver, and hair of juvenile llamas with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joint hyperextension.

Animals—12 juvenile llamas (6 with bilateral hyperextension of metacarpophalangeal joints, metatarsophalangeal joints, or both and 6 clinically normal control llamas).

Procedures—Radiography and ultrasonography of metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal regions were performed. Llamas were euthanized, and SDFT, DDFT, and SL samples were collected for histologic evaluation of collagen and elastin content and orientation, proteoglycan content, and collagen type III immunohistochemistry. Total RNA was isolated from SL tissue, and gene expression of collagen types I and III, lysyl oxidase, and matrix metalloproteinase-13 was evaluated via real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR assay. Liver, serum, and hair samples were evaluated for trace mineral content.

Results—Collagen type III gene expression and proteoglycan content were significantly increased in SL samples of affected juvenile llamas, compared with those of control llamas. No difference was detected in collagen and elastin content and orientation or in gene expression of collagen type I, lysyl oxidase, or matrix metalloproteinase-13 between groups. Affected llamas had significantly increased serum molybdenum and decreased liver cobalt concentrations, compared with values for control llamas.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increased collagen type III gene expression and proteoglycan content in SL samples of affected juvenile llamas provided evidence of ongoing SL matrix repair. Trace mineral differences may have been attributable to dietary imbalances in affected llamas.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Semevolos (stacy.semevolos@oregonstate.edu).

Dr. Reed's present address is Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

Supported by the Willamette Valley Llama Foundation.

Presented in part as a poster at the 19th Annual American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium, Washington, DC, October 2009.

The authors thank Mary Lou Norman at Cornell University for technical assistance with histologic processing.