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  • Author or Editor: Kimberly K. Van Wulfen x
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Objective—To localize substance P (SP) and neurokinin A (NKA) and their receptors in the insertion of the distal sesamoidean impar ligament (DSIL), deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), and dorsal hoof wall of healthy feet of horses.

Sample Population—18 healthy feet from horses.

Procedure—Samples from the dorsal hoof wall and insertion of the DSIL and DDFT of 10 feet were processed for immunocytochemical analysis, using rabbit polyclonal antisera raised against SP and NKA. Tissue sections from 8 feet were incubated with I125-labeled SP to localize tachykinin receptors and their specificity and with control solutions of radioactive SP and excess nonradioactive SP to identify areas of nonspecific binding.

Results—Many nerves immunoreactive for SP and NKA were localized to the region of the insertion of the DSIL and DDFT and the accompanying microvasculature and arteriovenous complexes (AVC) as well as to the microvasculature of the dorsal hoof wall. Specific neurokinin 1 receptors were localized over the microvessels and AVC of the insertion zone and small microvessels of the hoof wall.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These results document that the microvasculature of the equine foot is richly innervated and has specific receptors for tachykinins. Distributions of these tachykinin receptors on the microvasculature suggest that they form an important vasodilatory mechanism for controlling blood flow through the DSIL-DDFT insertion and dorsal hoof wall. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:222–228)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To describe microanatomic characteristics of the insertion of the distal sesamoidean impar ligament (DSIL) and deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) on the distal phalanx in horses.

Sample Population—Healthy feet obtained from 62 horses of various breeds.

Procedure—Feet from 23 horses were used to histologically examine the insertion of the DSIL and DDFT (n = 7), its vasculature (10), and neural elements (6). In 39 other horses, the insertion zone was examined for proteoglycan.

Results—The insertion of the DSIL and dorsal half of the DDFT contained bundles of collagen fibers with intervening loose connective tissue septa with arteriovenous complexes (AVC) and nerve fibers. Microscopic examination revealed adaptive changes in the insertion with regard to proteoglycan content. In young adult horses, little or no staining for proteoglycans was evident, whereas in middle-aged horses, moderate proteoglycan staining was seen. Six older horses had slight proteoglycan staining at the insertion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The study revealed that this region contained a rich neurovascular complex between the collagen bundles. A gradual increase in production of proteoglycan, evident at the insertion of the DSIL and DDFT on the distal phalanx, indicates that adaptive responses to stress rather than age alone may be the primary determining factor. These observations indicate that this insertion site may be susceptible to stress during stance and impact loading, because this region appears to be strategically situated to regulate important neurovascular functions of the foot. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:215–221)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research