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Vet J. 2003 Nov;166(3):238-43.

Abnormal synaptic protein expression in two Arabian horses with equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy.

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  • 1Priocat Laboratory, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal, Bellaterra Campus, Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.


Numerous swollen neurons and multiple dystrophic axons were observed in the gracillis and cuneatus nuclei of two male Arabian horses, aged six and 12 months of age, with equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy. Swollen neurons and dystrophic axons showed synaptophysin, synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa, syntaxin-1 and alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity. Moreover, dystrophic axons were strongly immunopositive against the ubiquitin protein and against the anti-phosphorylated 200 kDa neurofilament protein. Abnormal expression of integral synaptic vesicle, synaptic vesicle-associated presynaptic plasma membrane and cytosolic proteins, which participate in the trafficking, docking and fusion of the synaptic vesicle to the plasma membrane, suggest that severe disruption of axonal transport plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of dystrophic axons in equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM).

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