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Am J Vet Res. 1991 Oct;52(10):1565-9.

Serum tumor necrosis factor activity in horses with colic attributable to gastrointestinal tract disease.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


Over a 24-month period, serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF) activity was determined in 289 horses with colic attributable to gastrointestinal tract disease. Serum TNF activity was quantitated by use of a modified in vitro cytotoxicity bioassay, using WEHI 164 clone-13 murine fibrosarcoma cells. Causes for colic, determined by clinical and laboratory evaluation, exploratory celiotomy, or necropsy included: gastrointestinal tract rupture (GTR); ileal impaction; small intestinal strangulating obstruction (SIO); proximal enteritis (PE); transient small intestinal distention; large-colon displacement; large-colon volvulus; large-colon impaction; colitis; small-colon obstruction; peritonitis; and unknown. Each diagnosis was placed into 1 of 3 lesion categories: inflammatory disorders (GTR, PE, colitis, peritonitis); strangulating intestinal obstruction (SIO, large-colon volvulus); and nonstrangulating intestinal obstruction (ileal impaction, transient small intestinal distension, large-colon displacement, large-colon impaction, small-colon obstruction, unknown). The prevalence of high serum TNF activity and/or mortality were evaluated. Differences were tested at significance level of P less than 0.05. Approximately 20% of the 289 horses has serum TNF activity greater than that found in clinically normal horses (greater than 2.5 U/ml). Twenty-three horses (8%) had marked increase in serum TNF activity (greater than or equal to 10 U/ml) which was more prevalent among horses with SIO and PE than in horses of other diagnostic groups, except those with GTR. Mortality and marked increase in serum TNF activity were greater in horses with intestinal inflammatory disorders or strangulating intestinal obstruction than in horses with nonstrangulating intestinal obstruction.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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