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  • Author or Editor: Carrie Jacobs x
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Diagnosis of equine septic arthritis is not straightforward, and increasing time between onset, diagnosis, and treatment can have serious consequences for quality of life. Defensins are used in diagnosis of human joint infection. The presence of beta defensins (BDs) in equine synovial fluid and their utility as a biomarker of sepsis has not been investigated; therefore, our objectives were to (1) compare in vitro gene expression of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated equine neutrophils to unstimulated neutrophils and (2) compare BD protein expression from normal, aseptically inflamed, and septic equine joints.


5 horses for isolated neutrophil BD expression and 21 synovial fluid samples from 14 horses.


RT-qPCR analysis was performed for BD gene expression of stimulated and unstimulated equine peripheral neutrophils. BD protein expression was evaluated from equine joints with no disease, aseptic inflammation, and septic inflammation using a commercial ELISA designed for horses and analyzed with a Kruskal-Wallis test (significant at P < .05).


A significant increase was noted in expression of BD-3 in LPS stimulated as compared to unstimulated neutrophils. There were no significant differences in BD expression noted between joints with no disease, aseptic inflammation, and septic inflammation. Low case numbers and different types of cases in the aseptic inflammation group were main limitations. BD expression patterns in samples from stimulated equine peripheral neutrophils and synovial fluid were identified.


BDs are detectable in equine synovial fluid and can be stimulated from peripheral neutrophils. Further examination is needed to define their role as biomarkers of joint disease.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research