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  • Author or Editor: Anne J. Schwartz x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine significant molecular and cellular factors responsible for differences in secondintention healing in thoracic and metacarpal wounds of horses.

Animals—6 adult mixed-breed horses.

Procedure—A full-thickness skin wound on the metacarpus and another such wound on the pectoral region were created, photographed, and measured, and tissue was harvested from these sites weekly for 4 weeks. Gene expression of type-I collagen, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 were determined by quantitative in situ hybridization. Myofibroblasts were detected by immunohistochemical labeling with α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Collagen accumulation was detected by use of picrosirius red staining. Tissue morphology was examined by use of H&E staining.

Results—Unlike thoracic wounds, forelimb wounds enlarged during the first 2 weeks. Myofibroblasts, detected by week 1, remained abundant with superior organization in thoracic wounds. Type-I collagen mRNA accumulated progressively in both wounds. More type-I collagen and TGF-β1 mRNA were seen in forelimb wounds. Volume of MMP-1 mRNA decreased from day 0 in both wounds. By week 3, TIMP-1 mRNA concentration was greater in thoracic wounds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Greater collagen synthesis in metacarpal than thoracic wounds was documented by increased concentrations of myofibroblasts, type-I collagen mRNA, TGF-β1 mRNA, and decreased collagen degradation (ie, MMP-1). Imbalanced collagen synthesis and degradation likely correlate with development of exuberant granulation tissue, delaying healing in wounds of the distal portions of the limbs. Factors that inhibit collagen synthesis or stimulate collagenase may provide treatment options for horses with exuberant granulation tissue. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:1564–1570)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To isolate and characterize endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs; a subtype of endothelial progenitor cells) from peripheral blood samples of horses.

SAMPLE Jugular venous blood samples from 24 adult horses.

PROCEDURES Blood samples were cultured in endothelial cell growth medium. Isolated ECFCs were characterized by use of functional assays of fluorescence-labeled acetylated low-density lipoprotein (DiI-Ac-LDL) uptake and vascular tubule formation in vitro. Expression of endothelial (CD34, CD105, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, and von Willebrand factor) and hematopoietic (CD14) cell markers was assessed through indirect immunofluorescence assay and flow cytometry. The number of passages before senescence was determined through serial evaluation of DiI-Ac-LDL uptake, vascular tubule formation, and cell doubling rates.

RESULTS Samples from 3 horses produced colonies at 12 ± 2.5 days with characteristic endothelial single layer cobblestone morphology and substantial outgrowth on expansion. Equine ECFCs formed vascular tubules in vitro and had uptake of DiI-Ac-LDL (74.9 ± 14.7% positive cells). Tubule formation and DiI-Ac-LDL uptake diminished by passage 5. Equine ECFCs tested positive for von Willebrand factor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, CD34, and CD105 with an immunofluorescence assay and for CD14 and CD105 via flow cytometry.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE ECFCs can be isolated from peripheral blood of horses and have characteristics similar to those described for other species. These cells may have potential therapeutic use in equine diseases associated with ischemia or delayed vascularization.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research