OBJECTIVE To purify and characterize equine vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) from equine serum and to evaluate plasma concentrations of VDBP in healthy horses and horses with gastrointestinal injury or disease.
ANIMALS 13 healthy laboratory animals (8 mice and 5 rabbits), 61 healthy horses, 12 horses with experimentally induced intestinal ischemia and reperfusion (IR), and 59 horses with acute gastrointestinal diseases.
PROCEDURES VDBP was purified from serum of 2 healthy horses, and recombinant equine VDBP was obtained through a commercial service. Equine VDBP was characterized by mass spectrometry. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies were raised against equine VDBP, and a rocket immunoelectrophoresis assay for equine VDBP was established. Plasma samples from 61 healthy horses were used to establish working VDBP reference values for study purposes. Plasma VDBP concentrations were assessed at predetermined time points in horses with IR and in horses with naturally occurring gastrointestinal diseases.
RESULTS The working reference range for plasma VDBP concentration in healthy horses was 531 to 1,382 mg/L. Plasma VDBP concentrations were significantly decreased after 1 hour of ischemia in horses with IR, compared with values prior to induction of ischemia, and were significantly lower in horses with naturally occurring gastrointestinal diseases with a colic duration of < 12 hours than in healthy horses.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Plasma VDBP concentrations were significantly decreased in horses with acute gastrointestinal injury or disease. Further studies and the development of a clinically relevant assay are needed to establish the reliability of VDBP as a diagnostic and prognostic marker in horses.