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Lipid peroxidation biomarkers for evaluating oxidative stress in equine neuroaxonal dystrophy.



Equine neuroaxonal dystrophy/equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (eNAD/EDM) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting genetically predisposed foals maintained on an α-tocopherol (α-TOH) deficient diet. Currently no antemortem diagnostic test for eNAD/EDM is available.


Because α-TOH deficiency is associated with increased lipid peroxidation, it was hypothesized that F2 -isoprostanes (F2 IsoP), F4 -neuroprostanes (F4 NP) and oxysterols derived from free radical oxidation would be increased in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neural tissue of eNAD/EDM affected horses and could serve as potential biomarkers for disease.


Isoprostane Study A: 14 Quarter horse foals (10 healthy foals and 4 eNAD/EDM affected foals) at 1 and 6 months of age. Isoprostane Study B: 17 eNAD/EDM affected and 10 unaffected horses ≥ 1-4 years of age. Oxysterol study: eNAD/EDM affected (n = 14, serum; n = 11, CSF; n = 10, spinal cord [SC]) and unaffected horses 1-4 years of age (n = 12, serum; n = 10, CSF; n = 7, SC).


Cerebrospinal fluid [F2 IsoP] and [F4 NP] were assessed using gas chromatography-negative ion chemical ionization mass spectrometry. Serum, CSF, and cervical SC [oxysterols] were quantified using high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. Results were compared with respective α-TOH concentrations.


Spinal cord [7-ketocholesterol], [7-hydroxycholesterol], and [7-keto-27-hydrocholesterol] were higher in eNAD/EDM horses whereas [24-ketocholesterol] was lower. No significant difference was found in CSF [F2 IsoP] and [F4 NP], serum [oxysterols] and CSF [oxysterols] between eNAD/EDM affected and unaffected horses. No correlation was found between [F2 IsoP], [F4 NP], or [oxysterols] and respective [α-TOH].

Conclusions and clinical importance

In the SC, targeted markers of cholesterol oxidation were significantly increased in horses with eNAD/EDM.

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