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Vet J. 2009 Sep;181(3):280-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.03.027. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

In vitro culture of equine respiratory mucosa explants.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.


An in vitro model of the upper respiratory tract of the horse was developed to investigate mechanisms of respiratory diseases. Four tissues of the upper respiratory tract of three horses were collected. Explants were maintained in culture at an air-liquid interface for 96h. At 0, 24, 48, 72 and 96h of cultivation, a morphometric analysis was performed using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The explants were judged on morphometric changes of epithelium, basement membrane and connective tissue. Viability was evaluated using a fluorescent Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP Nick End Labelling (TUNEL) staining. No significant changes in morphometry and viability of any of the explants were observed during cultivation. Hence, the in vitro model may be useful to study infectious and non-infectious diseases at the level of the equine respiratory tract, with potential application to the development of vaccines and treatments for diseases of the respiratory tract.

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