Researchers have found what they describe as the metabolic fingerprint of early osteoarthritis in the joint fluid of horses.
Their findings may ultimately improve techniques for early diagnosis, they said, and some of the metabolites identified had the potential to be employed as biomarkers for the disease.
The researchers, from the University of Liverpool and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, had hypothesised that changes could be seen in synovial fluid removed from the joints of horses with early osteoarthritis compared to that removed from the joints of horses without the disease.
Dr Mandy Peffers and her colleagues based their findings on synovial fluid samples taken from the metacarpophalangeal joints of nine thoroughbreds with healthy joints and nine with osteoarthritis.
The samples were analysed to identify changes in lipids and small molecules.
The study team, in a research presentation to delegates at the recent British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress, reported that seven metabolites were identified as significantly different in cases of osteoarthritis.
“We identified the metabolic fingerprint of early osteoarthritis, which may allow for better phenotyping of disease states and thereby facilitate targeting of improved treatment regimes,” they reported.
A summary of the researchers’ work has been published in the Equine Veterinary Journal as part of the proceedings from the BEVA Congress.
Peffers, M., Riggs, C., Phelan, M. and Clegg, P. (2015), Identification of Disease Specific Metabolic Fingerprints in Early Osteoarthritis. Equine Veterinary Journal, 47: 13. doi: 10.1111/evj.12486_28
The abstract can be read here.