Characterisation of the inflammatory cytokine response to anthelmintic treatment in ponies

A. Betancourt, E. T. Lyons, D. W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Reasons for performing study: Anthelmintic treatments have been associated with local inflammatory reactions. Since each class of anthelmintic has unique mechanisms of action affecting different subpopulations of parasites, we hypothesised that they will also induce characteristic proinflammatory responses. Objectives: To determine the effect of anthelmintic class on the proinflammatory response post treatment. Study design: Ponies naturally infected with cyathostomins and other parasites after pasture grazing were left untreated or treated with representatives of 3 different classes of anthelmintics: fenbendazole (benzimidazole); pyrantel tartrate (pyrimidine); and moxidectin (macrocyclic lactone). All were monitored for the expression of proinflammatory genes in the peripheral blood using real-time PCR. Methods: The ponies were divided into 4 treatment groups: Group 1 (n = 4) were untreated controls; Group 2 (n = 5) received 5 daily doses of fenbendazole (10mg/kg bwt); Group 3 (n = 4) received daily treatment of pyrantel tartrate 2× (2.65mg/kg bwt); and Group 4 (n = 5) received a single dose of moxidectin (400μg/kg bwt). Blood samples were collected daily for 2 weeks to determine the effect of deworming on proinflammatory gene expression. Faecal egg counts were used to evaluate the efficacy of each drug. Results: While treatment with the benzimidazole significantly reduced egg counts up to 14 days post treatment, it also stimulated proinflammatory gene expression. Treatment with pyrantel salt also reduced faecal egg counts with less of a proinflammatory response. Treatment with the macrocyclic lactone was the most successful in reducing faecal egg counts and produced no signs of increased proinflammatory cytokine expression. Conclusions: This study revealed pronounced differences in the cytokine responses to anthelmintic treatment. This inflammatory reaction may play a role in the development of parasitic disease post anthelmintic treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-244
Number of pages5
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 EVJ Ltd.


  • Anthelmintics
  • Horse
  • Pony
  • Proinflammatory cytokines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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