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Abstract

Objective—To investigate whether expression of inflammation-associated genes in leukocytes from horses with gastrointestinal tract (GIT) diseases correlated with the type of disease and outcome.

Animals—10 healthy horses and 50 horses with GIT disease.

Procedures—A blood sample was collected from each healthy horse or horse with GIT disease (during admission to the hospital). Leukocytes were isolated, diluted to a standard concentration, and frozen until RNA extraction. Expression of 14 genes associated with inflammation was quantified by use of a real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR assay. Results were grouped by GIT disease type and disease outcome for comparison.

Results—Horses with GIT disease had colic of unknown etiology (n = 8 horses), GIT inflammation or strangulation (19), or nonstrangulating GIT obstruction (23). Among the 45 horses receiving treatment, 38 were discharged from the hospital, and 7 died or were euthanized. Compared with healthy horses, horses with colic of unknown etiology had similar gene expression. Significant differences in expression of the interleukin-8, leukocyte-selectin molecule, matrix metalloproteinase-9, platelet-selectin molecule, mitochondrial superoxide dismutase, Toll-like receptor 4, and tumor necrosis factor-A genes were detected between healthy horses and horses with GIT disease. Significant differences in expression of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, interleukin-8, leukocyte-selectin molecule, matrix metalloproteinase-9, platelet-selectin molecule, mitochondrial superoxide dismutase, Toll-like receptor 4, and tumor necrosis factor-A genes were detected among healthy horses and horses grouped by disease outcome.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Inflammatory gene expression in leukocytes of horses with GIT disease appeared to be related to disease pathogenesis and prognosis.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research