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In this study, we described water-insoluble proteins extracted from the germinative regions (stratum internum and coronary band epithelium) and the cornified outer surface (stratum medium) of the equine hoof wall. Two major types of polypeptides were identified: the intermediate filaments (if) and the if-associated proteins. The if, including keratins, composed a major portion of this fraction, had electrophoretic mobilities on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the range of 40 to 80 kDa, and reacted with acidic or basic keratin-specific monoclonal antibodies. Differences in the composition of keratins between germinative layers and the stratum medium were seen. Another less well-characterized group of polypeptides associated with the if also were extracted with the water-insoluble polypeptide fraction. These associated proteins had an apparent molecular weight between 10 and 30 kDa on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and contained a higher percentage of sulfur-containing amino acids than did the if. Water-insoluble protein fractions compared favorably with those found in other less-specialized keratinizing tissue with respect to size, immunoreactivity with monoclonal antibody, and amino acid composition.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate patterns of digital cushion (DC) displacement that occur in response to vertical loading of the distal portion of the forelimb in horses.

Sample Population—Forelimbs from 10 horses with normal feet.

Procedure—Patterns of DC displacement induced by in vitro vertical limb loading were determined. Loadinduced displacement of the DC was defined as the magnitude and direction of displacement of 6 radiodense, percutaneously implanted markers in specific regions of the DC. The effects of solar support and nonsupport on displacement of the DC were compared.

Results—Regional displacement of the DC occurred principally along distal and palmar vectors in response to vertical loading. Medial or lateral abaxial displacements were variable and appeared to be dependent on response of the limb to the applied load. Displacement of the DC was not affected by the degree of solar support.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data indicated that the biomechanical function of the DC is to act as a restraint to the displacement of the second phalanx or as a passive structure that allows flexibility of the caudal two thirds of the foot. Results did not indicate that the DC provides a force that induces displacement of or an active restraint against outward displacement of the hoof wall capsule. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:623–629)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objectives—To compare limb-load distribution between horses with and without acute or chronic laminitis.

Animals—10 horses with carbohydrate-induced acute laminitis, 20 horses with naturally occurring chronic laminitis, and 20 horses without foot abnormalities (controls).

Procedures—Limb-load distribution was determined, using a custom-designed system that allowed simultaneous quantification of the mean percentage of body weight voluntarily placed on each limb (ie, mean limb load) and the SD of the mean load over a 5- minute period (ie, load distribution profile [LDP]). Load distribution profile was used as an index of frequency of load redistribution.

Results—Mean loads on fore- and hind limbs in control horses were 58 and 42%, respectively, and loads were equally and normally distributed between left and right limbs. In addition, forelimb LDP was greater, compared with hind limbs, and was affected by head and neck movement. In comparison, limb-load distribution in horses with chronic laminitis was characterized by an increase in the preferential loading of a forelimb, a decrease in total forelimb load, and an increase in LDP that was correlated with severity of lameness. In horses with carbohydrate-induced acute laminitis, mean limb loads after onset of lameness were not different from those prior to lameness; however, LDP was significantly decreased after onset of lameness.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Quantification of limb-load distribution may be an applicable screening method for detecting acute laminitis, grading severity of lameness, and monitoring rehabilitation of horses with chronic laminitis. (Am J Vet Res 2001; 62:1393–1398)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research