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Plasma neurofilament pNF-H concentration is not increased in acute equine grass sickness

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email: bruce.mcgorum@ed.ac.uk

Summary

Although a presumptive diagnosis of acute grass sickness (AGS) can be made on the basis of clinical signs, a definitive ante mortem diagnosis currently requires histological examination of enteric ganglia. Development of an accurate noninvasive ante mortem diagnostic test is therefore warranted. The objective of this study was to determine whether quantification of the plasma concentrations of the heavily phosphorylated form of major neurofilament subunit NF-H (pNF-H), which mirror the degree of axonal degeneration in some human and animal neurodegenerative disorders, could distinguish AGS-affected and control horses. The pNF-H was quantified in plasma from 20 AGS cases and 20 control horses using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Five AGS and 4 control samples had detectable pNF-H concentrations (>0.0759 ng/ml). There was no significant intergroup difference in pNF-H concentrations. It was concluded that plasma pNF-H is not a useful biomarker for the diagnosis of AGS.

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