Musculoskeletal Disease Biomarkers

Colorado State University (CSU) researchers have found significant patterns of six different signals of damage or "biomarkers" in the serum of racehorses with certain musculoskeletal diseases.

Biomarkers are indicators of abnormal skeletal tissue turnover. David D. Frisbie, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, an assistant professor in CSU's Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, and colleagues examined six serum biomarkers in 2- and 3-year-old Thoroughbred racehorses in training that each had a single musculoskeletal injury. The injuries were bone chips off a joint surface, tendon or ligament injuries, incomplete or complete non-articular (non-joint) fractures, and periostitis (inflammation of the periosteum, the membrane that covers bone in areas other than joints).

A computer model using significant biomarkers was about 67% sensitive in predicting these problems. Each real-world injury type had a unique biomarker pattern.

Researchers on this study were Frisbie; Erin Duffy, BS; Rick Arthur, DVM; Jeff Blea, DVM; Vincent Baker, DVM; R. Clark Billinghurst, DVM, PhD; and C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVS.

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About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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