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Quantitative characterization of viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid from forelimb joints of orthopedically normal Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses

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  • 1 1Equine Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54627, Greece.
  • | 2 2Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54627, Greece.
  • | 3 3Diagnostic Imaging Unit, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54627, Greece.
  • | 4 4Surgery Unit, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54627, Greece.
  • | 5 5School of Chemical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether differences existed in the viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid samples from the metacarpophalangeal, intercarpal, and distal interphalangeal joints of orthopedically normal athletic horses.

ANIMALS

45 warmblood horses and 30 Thoroughbreds (age range, 4 to 16 years).

PROCEDURES

Synovial fluid samples were aseptically obtained via arthrocentesis from 1 metacarpophalangeal, intercarpal, and distal interphalangeal joint of each horse, and nucleated cell counts were performed. A commercial ELISA was used to measure sample hyaluronic acid concentrations, and full rheological characterization of samples was performed to measure the elastic or storage modulus G' and viscous or loss modulus G“ at 37.5°C (representing the body temperature of horses). Findings were compared among joints and between breed groups by means of ANOVA.

RESULTS

Significant differences in synovial fluid G' and G“ values were identified between Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses for the metacarpophalangeal joint, between the metacarpophalangeal and intercarpal joints of Thoroughbreds, and between the metacarpophalangeal and distal interphalangeal joints and intercarpal and distal interphalangeal joints of warmblood horses. No significant differences were identified between breed groups or among joints in synovial fluid hyaluronic concentrations or nucleated cell counts.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Viscoelastic properties of the forelimb joints of orthopedically normal Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses differed within and between these 2 groups, mainly as a function of the evaluated joint. To the authors' knowledge, this was the first study of its kind, and additional research is warranted to better understand the viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid in horses to optimize their locomotive function.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether differences existed in the viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid samples from the metacarpophalangeal, intercarpal, and distal interphalangeal joints of orthopedically normal athletic horses.

ANIMALS

45 warmblood horses and 30 Thoroughbreds (age range, 4 to 16 years).

PROCEDURES

Synovial fluid samples were aseptically obtained via arthrocentesis from 1 metacarpophalangeal, intercarpal, and distal interphalangeal joint of each horse, and nucleated cell counts were performed. A commercial ELISA was used to measure sample hyaluronic acid concentrations, and full rheological characterization of samples was performed to measure the elastic or storage modulus G' and viscous or loss modulus G“ at 37.5°C (representing the body temperature of horses). Findings were compared among joints and between breed groups by means of ANOVA.

RESULTS

Significant differences in synovial fluid G' and G“ values were identified between Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses for the metacarpophalangeal joint, between the metacarpophalangeal and intercarpal joints of Thoroughbreds, and between the metacarpophalangeal and distal interphalangeal joints and intercarpal and distal interphalangeal joints of warmblood horses. No significant differences were identified between breed groups or among joints in synovial fluid hyaluronic concentrations or nucleated cell counts.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Viscoelastic properties of the forelimb joints of orthopedically normal Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses differed within and between these 2 groups, mainly as a function of the evaluated joint. To the authors' knowledge, this was the first study of its kind, and additional research is warranted to better understand the viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid in horses to optimize their locomotive function.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table s1 (JPG 96 kb)
    • Supplementary Table s2 (JPG 95 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Tyrnenopoulou (giwtatyr@gmail.com).