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  • Author or Editor: Roger Smith III x
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Objective—To characterize changes in lymphocyte subsets over time in foals from birth to 18 weeks of age, accounting for differences among individuals, and to determine the effect of overnight storage of blood samples on foal lymphocyte subset concentrations.

Animals—8 healthy Quarter Horse foals from birth to 18 weeks of age.

Procedure—Blood samples were collected longitudinally from birth to 18 weeks of age and a CBC performed on each sample. The samples were stained for lymphocyte markers, either immediately or after overnight storage and analyzed by flow cytometry.

Results—Total leukocytes, total lymphocytes, and the absolute concentrations of all lymphocyte subsets increased significantly with age. The proportions of B29A+, CD21+, and equine major histocompatability complex class-II molecule+ lymphocytes increased significantly with age. The proportion of equine (Eq) CD5+, EqCD8+, and EqWC4+ lymphocytes decreased significantly with age. Significant differences among foals were found with respect to initial concentrations with respect to initial concentrations, but not with respect to the rate of increase of the various subsets tested. Significant differences were not found in subset values when comparing blood samples stained on the day of collection or after overnight storage at room temperature (approx 21 C) or under refrigeration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These results are consistent with an increase in subset numbers and proportions over time, but with individual differences among foals. The observation of individual differences in subsets among foals suggests that there may be individual differences in susceptibility to infectious disease during the perinatal period. The absence of an effect of overnight storage makes field studies of lymphocyte subset concentrations more feasible. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:531–537)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research