LMU students present research at conference

Published 3:15 pm Monday, April 22, 2019

Students at LMU College of Veterinary Medicine presented their research project during a conference at Auburn University. Clayton Deible, class of 2022, and Amy Daly, class of 2021, presented “Surfactant Protein D Concentrations in Serum and Bronchoalveolar Lavage in Young Healthy Horses” at the Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Society Conference in October. Deible has been working on the project since fall of 2017, while attending LMU as a master’s student. Daly joined him in his research over the summer of 2018.

Their project identified levels of Surfactant Protein D (SP-D) in the blood. SP-D is a protein in the lungs that is potentially related to inflammation, and is a potential biomarker for equine asthma. They examined the molecule by looking at the lung fluid of 20 young horses. The horses were put into two groups, with one group being housed completely outside in a pasture, and the other group housed completely inside a dusty barn. They took samples of the lung fluid from the horses at two-week intervals, using the ELISA procedure to determine their SP-D concentrations.

“This protein (SP-D) has never been examined in healthy horses before, so our main goal was to get a baseline and find out what the normal level of the protein should be in a healthy horse,” said Daly. “We also wanted to see if there was a difference in levels of SP-D in horses living in a barn versus living outside, which may be an indication of inflammatory effects of stabling horses.”

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They hope the results will help horse owners determine which environment would be best suited for their horses-either outside or in an enclosed environment. A follow-up study is being conducted, which looks at these same SP-D levels as well as lipid levels in the lung fluid and blood of both asthmatic and healthy horses. This follow-up study will help further determine what SP-D levels look like in healthy horses, and compare that to horses with respiratory disease.

“From both of these studies we hope to determine the main role of SP-D in horses, and if it can be used as a marker for respiratory disease in the future,” said Daly.

The Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Society is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide a forum for the discussion of the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of the respiratory system, and the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease in all animals. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in respiratory problems, including veterinarians, physicians, physiologists, pathologists, respiratory therapists and other allied health professionals.