OBJECTIVE To evaluate the eosinophilic response in intestinal mucosa of horses with intestinal ischemia and reperfusion or with strangulation of the jejunum or colon.
SAMPLE Mucosal samples from horses with naturally occurring strangulation (n = 24 horses) or distention (n = 6) of the jejunum or colon (11), with experimentally induced ischemia and reperfusion of the jejunum (6) or colon (15), or that were euthanized for reasons other than gastrointestinal tract disease (13).
PROCEDURES Mucosal samples were collected and grouped by type of intestinal injury. Slides were stained with Luna eosinophil stain and histologically examined to determine eosinophil accumulation and distribution. Number of eosinophils per mm2 of mucosa was calculated as a measure of eosinophil accumulation. Additionally, mucosa was categorized into 5 regions; the percentage of eosinophils in each of the 5 regions, relative to the total eosinophil count in all regions, was determined.
RESULTS Eosinophil migration toward and onto the luminal surface was evident in tissues after ischemia and reperfusion and after naturally occurring strangulating disease of the jejunum and colon, as indicated by a decrease in the number of eosinophils near the muscularis mucosa and an increase in the number of eosinophils on or near the luminal surface. Ischemia alone did not change eosinophil distribution in the jejunum or colon.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Eosinophils responded to mucosal damage evoked by ischemia and reperfusion by migration toward and onto the luminal surface. This migration could represent an important component of the inflammatory response to injury in equine gastrointestinal mucosa.