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Can J Vet Res. 2008 Jan;72(1):37-42.

Myeloperoxidase assay in plasma and peritoneal fluid of horses with gastrointestinal disease.

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  • 1Clinique Equine, Anesthésiologie et Pathologie chirurgicale, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire B 41, Université de Liège, Sart Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium.


Gastrointestinal disorders, especially strangulating intestinal obstructions, are still a major cause of illness and death in the horse. Circulating lipopolysaccharides may activate both neutrophils and monocytes. The activated neutrophils release myeloperoxidase (MPO), a specific enzyme with strong oxidative activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate MPO concentrations in the plasma and peritoneal fluid (PF) of horses with colic and to check the hypothesis that these concentrations would be higher in a case of strangulating obstruction than in cases of nonstrangulating disease. By using a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for equine MPO, we determined the MPO concentrations in horses admitted to a clinic for colic. Horses with nonstrangulating or strangulating obstruction of the large intestine (NSLI or SLI), strangulating obstruction of the small intestine (SSI), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were compared with healthy horses. The horses with SLI, SSI, or IBD had significantly higher MPO levels in plasma and PF than did those in the other 2 groups. The mean plasma level was significantly higher in the horses with NSLI than in the healthy horses. High MPO values in PF indicated necrotic bowel. These results show that neutrophil activation occurs during nonstrangulating and strangulating intestinal obstruction in horses and that the plasma and PF MPO concentrations may be a marker of the severity of the disease.

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