Body weight is an important trait to confirm growth and development in humans and animals. In Thoroughbred racehorses, it is measured in the postnatal, training, and racing periods to evaluate growth and training degrees. The body weight of mature Thoroughbred racehorses generally ranges from 400 to 600 kg, and this broad range is likely influenced by environmental and genetic factors. Therefore, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the Equine SNP70 BeadChip was performed to identify the genomic regions associated with body weight in Japanese Thoroughbred racehorses using 851 individuals. The average body weight of these horses was 473.9 kg (standard deviation: 28.0) at the age of 3, and GWAS identified statistically significant SNPs on chromosomes 3 (BIEC2_808466, P=2.32E-14), 9 (BIEC2_1105503, P=1.03E-7), 15 (BIEC2_322669, P=9.50E-6), and 18 (BIEC2_417274, P=1.44E-14), which were associated with body weight as a quantitative trait. The genomic regions on chromosomes 3, 9, 15, and 18 included ligand-dependent nuclear receptor compressor-like protein (LCORL), zinc finger and AT hook domain containing (ZFAT), tribbles pseudokinase 2 (TRIB2), and myostatin (MSTN), respectively, as candidate genes. LCORL and ZFAT are associated with withers height in horses, whereas MSTN affects muscle mass. Thus, the genomic regions identified in this study seem to affect the body weight of Thoroughbred racehorses. Although this information is useful for breeding and growth management of the horses, the production of genetically modified animals and gene doping (abuse/misuse of gene therapy) should be prohibited to maintain horse racing integrity.
Gastric tissue biopsy and gene expression analysis are important tools for disease diagnosis and study of the physiology of the equine stomach. However, RNA extraction from gastric biopsy samples is a complex procedure because the samples contain low quantities of RNA and are contaminated with mucous protein and bacterial flora. The objectives of these studies were to compare the performance of RNA extraction methods and to investigate the sensitivity of commercial qPCR master mixes for gene expression analysis of gastric biopsy samples. Three commercial RNA extraction methods (TRIzolTM, GENEzolTM and MiniPrepTM) and four qPCR master mixes with SYBR® green (qPCRBIO, KAPA, QuantiNova, and PerfeCTa) were compared. RNA qualification and quantitation were compared. Real-time PCR was used to compare qPCR master mixes. The results revealed that TRIzol and GENEzol obtained significantly higher yield of RNA (P<0.01) but that TRIzol had the highest contamination of protein and DNA (P<0.05). Conversely, MiniPrep resulting in a significantly higher purification of RNA (P<0.05) but provided the lowest yield of RNA (P<0.01). For PCR master mixes, KAPA was significantly (P<0.05) more sensitive than other qPCR kits for all amounts of DNA template, particularly at the lowest amount of cDNA. In conclusion, GENEzol is the best method to obtain a high RNA yield and purification and it is more cost-effective than the others as well. Regarding the qPCR master mixes, KAPA SYBR qPCR Master Mix (2x) Universal is superior to the other tested master mixes for studying gene expression in equine gastric biopsies.
A total of 20 racehorses with longitudinal fractures underwent internal fixation surgery under sevoflurane anesthesia combined with infusion of medetomidine (3 µg/kg/hr) alone (10 horses, group M) or medetomidine and fentanyl (7 µg/kg/hr) (10 horses, group FM). In group FM, the end-tidal sevoflurane concentration during surgery was maintained significantly lower than in group M (2.8–2.9% for group M vs. 2.2–2.6% for group FM, P<0.01). The mean arterial blood pressure was maintained over 70 mmHg using dobutamine infusion (group M, 0.36–0.54 µg/kg/min; group FM, 0.27–0.65 µg/kg/min), and the recovery qualities were clinically acceptable in both groups. In conclusion, co-administration of fentanyl and medetomidine by constant rate infusion may be a clinically useful intraoperative anesthetic adjunct for horses to reduce the requirement of sevoflurane when they undergo orthopedic surgery.
This report describes an ocular mast cell tumor in a 13-year-old female sport horse. Clinical examination revealed a solitary firm mass located in the ocular mucosa, protruding from behind the left lower eyelid. The lesion was surgically removed and submitted to histopathology. Microscopically, the mass was composed of sheets of well-differentiated neoplastic round cells circumscribed by delicate connective tissue. Positive Giemsa and Toluidine Blue staining confirmed the presence of cytoplasmic granules. Neoplastic cells showed strong membranous and mild diffuse cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for c-KIT and a low KI-67 proliferative index. Based on these findings, a diagnosis of ocular mast cell tumor was made. Six months after surgical removal, no evidence of ocular lesion recurrence was detected.
The sizes of Japanese native horses have drastically decreased, and protection of these populations is important for Japanese horse culture. Social trials as well as scientific attempts are necessary for maintaining the breed. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have potential as a cell source for various cell therapies. However, there have been no reports on MSCs of Japanese native horses. We aimed to isolate and characterize MSCs from a Japanese native horse, the Noma horse. Plastic-adherent and self-replicating cells were isolated from a Noma horse’s peripheral blood (PB). The isolated cells had trilineage potential and a surface antigen of mesenchymal cells, so they fulfilled the minimal criteria of MSCs. Therefore, PB can be one source of MSCs for Japanese native horses.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate foaling rates of mares that were rebred after the pregnancy loss in same reproductive season and to examine factors influencing them in Hidaka, Japan. The study included 82 Thoroughbred mares that had experienced pregnancy loss. The foaling rate of the mares that were rebred after pregnancy loss was 57.3%. The foaling rate decreased as the period until detection of pregnancy loss increased. Aging and lower body condition score of mares decreased the foaling rate.
This is a retrospective study of uterine torsion (UT) in seven mares. In two cases, serum progesterone and estradiol concentrations were also investigated. The mare and foal/fetus survival rate was 57% (4/7). Four cases presented with clockwise torsion, and two cases presented with counterclockwise torsion. The direction was undetermined in one case. The degree of torsion varied. Correction of torsion was performed by ventral midline celiotomy in all cases. In the two cases with measured hormone levels, elevated levels of P4 were decreased through medication. All mares discharged from the hospital with a live fetus were able to carry a live fetus. Early diagnosis and treatment of UT increases the possibility of helping mares and foals in cases with acute UT.