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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2009 Jun 15;129(3-4):216-20. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.11.004. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Inflammatory and redox status of ponies with a history of pasture-associated laminitis.

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Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061 United States.


Inflammatory and redox signals could render lamellar tissue susceptible to damage and contribute to higher risk for laminitis in obese or insulin resistant ponies just as these factors contribute to health risks in humans with metabolic syndrome. This study evaluated circulating markers of inflammatory and redox status in ponies that had a history of recurrent bouts of pasture-associated laminitis (PL, n = 42) or had never developed clinical laminitis (NL, n = 34) under the current management conditions. There were no differences (P > 0.05) between PL and NL ponies for markers of antioxidant function (glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase) or increased oxidative pressure (malondialdehyde, apoptosis, 3-nitrotyrosine). Inflammatory status, as indicated by fibrinogen concentration, was also not different between pony groups (P = 0.84). However, PL ponies had higher (P < 0.001) plasma concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha than NL ponies. This suggests that a predisposition to laminitis is associated with increased circulating inflammatory cytokines. TNF-alpha could also represent a contributing factor to increased insulin resistance observed in laminitis prone ponies. These results provide new insight into potential mechanisms and risk factors underlying laminitis.

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