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Serum amyloid A as an indicator of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy risk in horses with equine herpes virus type-1

Serum amyloid A as an indicator of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy risk in horses with equine herpes virus type-1

Name:
Michala Nail

Department:
Physiological Sciences

Abstract:
Equine herpes virus type-1 (EHV-1) is a common infectious respiratory disease of horses that may result in development of a life threatening neurologic form called equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in small percentage of infected horses. Previous work by our group has shown that outcomes of horses with EHM can be improved by early treatment with antiviral drugs. However treatment of EHM can be costly and labor intensive. Therefore an early marker of EHM would be beneficial by identifying which horses would most benefit from receiving anti-viral drugs. Serum amyloid A (SAA) is an acute phase protein that has been shown to increase with inflammation. Its response in EHV-1 and EHM has not been previously investigated. To determine if SAA has a role in predicting which horses with EHV-1 will develop EHM we infected 14 light bred aged, healthy mares with EHV-1 by intranasal inoculation. Plasma samples were collected at pre-determined times spanning from pre-infection until 20 days post EHV-1 infection for SAA measurement. Mares were assessed for ataxia score daily and viral copy number in nasal swabs was quantified by real time PCR. A Spearman coefficient of correlation was used to compare SAA concentration to ataxia score and viral load at days 3, 4 and 5 post infection. SAA concentration in those horses that developed EHM was compared to those that did not using Mann Whitney rank sum test. Of the 14 mares, 6 were determined to be ataxic. Testing revealed that SAA concentration was negatively correlated to ataxia score post infection days 4 and 5 (r=-0.6, P