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Vet Q. 2012;32(1):3-11. doi: 10.1080/01652176.2012.675636. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Gluten-dependent antibodies in horses with inflammatory small bowel disease (ISBD).

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  • 1Department of Equine Sciences, Medicine Section, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Equine inflammatory small bowel disease (ISBD) is an idiopathic pathologic condition seeming to increase in prevalence. Objective: To investigate the potential role of gluten in equine ISBD. ANIMALS & METHODS: Antibodies known to be important in the diagnosis of human coeliac disease (CD): IgA antibodies to human recombinant and guinea pig tissue-transglutaminase (TGA), native gliadin (AGA), deamidated-gliadin-peptides (DGPA), and primate and equine endomysium (EMA) were assessed in blood samples from three different groups of horses: ISBD affected (n = 12) on a gluten-rich diet and controls either on gluten-rich (n = 22) or gluten-poor (n = 25) diets. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between groups were assessed using the Wilcoxon test.

RESULTS:

Both ISBD-affected horses and gluten-rich controls had significantly (p < 0.0004) higher hrTGA titers than gluten-poor controls. However, ISBD horses did not show significantly increased levels of any of the CD related antibodies when compared to gluten-rich controls. Nevertheless, markedly increased antibody levels (TGA, EMA and DGPA) were found in one of the ISBD horses. The introduction of a gluten-free ration in this 14-year-old warmblood stallion resulted after 6 months in the reduction of antibody levels and clinical recovery associated with improved duodenal histopathology.

CONCLUSION:

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study assessing gluten-related antibodies in horses and results suggest a potential pathogenic role of gluten in at least some cases of equine ISBD. Clinical importance and impact for human medicine: Given serology and concurrent clinical findings, this study warrants further investigations into the immunologic basis of possible gluten-sensitive enteropathy in horses and analogy with human disease.

PMID:
22489998
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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