Alterations of peripheral gene expression in response to lipopolysaccharide-induced synovitis as a model for inflammation in horses

Allen Page, Emma Adam, John C. Stewart, Christopher Gonzales, Virginia Barker, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While the use of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce inflammation has been well described in the horse, the object of this study was to evaluate the effect of repeated intra-articular LPS injections and determine whether this method may be of use to assess changes in gene expression related to inflammation. Six mixed breed horses were utilized for this study, with three horses aged 10−17 years (older group) and three horses aged 3 years (younger group). One milliliter of phosphate-buffered saline containing 3 μg of LPS from Escherichia coli O111:B4 was aseptically injected into either the radiocarpal or front fetlock joint a total of four times, with at least two weeks between each injection and a different joint injected each time. Serum for protein concentration quantification and whole blood for expression analysis of 20 different genes were collected before each injection, as well as at multiple times post-injection. Statistical analysis was performed using analysis of variance (one-way and two-way) (P < 0.05). All horses experienced minimal or non-weight bearing lameness at 4–6 hours post-LPS injection, which generally improved by 24 h and resolved by 48 h. Multiple genes exhibited significantly differential expression when compared to both the pre-injection and sham injection time points, including CD14, TLR4, MMP1, MMP9, IL-1β, IL1RN, IL-10, ALOX5AP, IL-8, TNFα, CCL8, IGF1, and PTGS2. Additionally, multiple genes exhibited increased expression in horses where the radiocarpal joint was injected when compared to the fetlock joint, as well as in younger horses compared to older horses. Serum concentrations of serum amyloid A (SAA) were negative prior to injection while all horses demonstrated an increase by 9 h post-injection, which often remained until at least 144 h. Attempts to measure in vivo serum cytokine levels using a multiplex assay were not successful and believed to be due to the lower limits of detection for the assays. The measurement of mRNA expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory genes provide sensitive and rapid information regarding the inflammatory response to an acute, localized stimulus, although care must be taken when selecting target joints or age groups of horses as the transcriptional response may vary based on these choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110058
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Horse
  • Inflammation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Model
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • General Veterinary


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