Blood serum biomarker shows potential in identifying equine gut problems


Levels of nitric oxide in blood serum could be a valuable biomarker for intestinal problems such as colic,  researchers in Russia report.

The development of diseases of the digestive tract of horses, accompanied by the development of inflammation and oxidative stress, can be associated with a lack of nitric oxide, Zinaida Artyushina and her colleagues wrote in the RUDN Journal of Agronomy and Animal Industries.

It controls a variety of signaling pathways in the body, having roles in the work of the immune and nervous systems.

“Its level directly determines the tone of all blood vessels and the course of many pathological processes,” the study team said.

They said nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, should be considered one of the most important factors in the protection of the gastric and intestinal lining.

For their study, the scientists used ESR spectroscopy to determine the level of the nitrite-nitric oxide metabolite in healthy horses and those with colic.

They divided the horses into three groups: healthy horses aged 1 to 5 years, healthy horses aged 6 to 25, and those with intestinal disease.

The concentration of nitrite in blood serum in horses aged 6 to 25 was 3.42 ± 4.22 μM, while in the younger age group the level was 8.24 ± 5.42 μM, which is 2.4 times higher.

A sharp decrease of nitrite was noted in all horses with intestinal diseases of 2.07 ± 0.9 μM. It was even lower in horses with meteorism (distension of the abdomen because of gas in the gut), with levels of just 0.6 ± 0.4 μM recorded.

It was also found to be low in cases of spastic colic, with a level of 1.78 ± 0.5 μM.

The results, they said, pointed to the diagnostic and prognostic value of nitric oxide as a biomarker
for the regulation of intestinal motility.

The full study team comprised Artyushina and Pavel Abramov, from the Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology; Nikolai Polyansky, from the Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics, which is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Nikolai Tkachev and Vladimir Serezhenkov, from the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, also part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Zinaida S. Artyushina, Pavel N. Abramov, Nikolai B. Polyansky, Nikolai A. Tkachev, Vladimir A. Serezhenkov.
RUDN Journal of Agronomy and Animal Industries 2019 Vol. 14 No. 1 57-65 DOI: 10.22363/2312-797X-2019-14-1-57-65

The study is in Russian. It can be found here, with an English abstract at the end.

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