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1.  Objective classification of different head and neck positions and their influence on the radiographic pharyngeal diameter in sport horses 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:118.
Background
Various head and neck positions in sport horses are significant as they can interfere with upper airway flow mechanics during exercise. Until now, research has focused on subjectively described head and neck positions. The objective of this study was to develop an objective, reproducible method for quantifying head and neck positions accurately.
Results
Determining the angle between the ridge of the nose and the horizontal plane (ground angle) together with the angle between the ridge of nose and the line connecting the neck and the withers (withers angle) has provided values that allow precise identification of three preselected head and neck positions for performing sport horses. The pharyngeal diameter, determined on lateral radiographs of 35 horses, differed significantly between the established flexed position and the remaining two head and neck positions (extended and neutral). There was a significant correlation between the pharyngeal diameter and the ground angle (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient −0.769, p < 0.01) as well as between the pharyngeal diameter and the withers angle (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient 0.774, p < 0.01).
Conclusion
The combination of the ground angle and the withers angle is a suitable tool for evaluating and distinguishing frequently used head and neck positions in sport horses. The ground angle and the withers angle show significant correlation with the measured pharyngeal diameter in resting horses. Hence, these angles provide an appropriate method for assessing the degree of head and neck flexion. Further research is required to examine the influence of increasing head and neck flexion and the related pharyngeal diameter on upper airway function in exercising horses.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-118
PMCID: PMC4041040  PMID: 24886564
Horse; Equine pharynx; Head and neck position; Pharyngeal diameter; Upper respiratory tract
2.  Pharyngeal diameter in various head and neck positions during exercise in sport horses 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:117.
Background
In equine athletes, dynamic stenotic disorders of the upper airways are often the cause for abnormal respiratory noises and/or poor performance. There are hypotheses, that head and neck flexion may influence the morphology and function of the upper airway and thus could even induce or deteriorate disorders of the upper respiratory tract. Especially the pharynx, without osseous or cartilaginous support is prone to changes in pressure and airflow during exercise. The objective of this study was to develop a method for measuring the pharyngeal diameter in horses during exercise, in order to analyse whether a change of head-neck position may have an impact on the pharyngeal diameter.
Results
Under the assumption that the width of the epiglottis remains constant in healthy horses, the newly developed method for calculating the pharyngeal diameter in horses during exercise is unsusceptible against changes of the viewing-angle and distance between the endoscope and the structures, which are to be assessed. The quotient of the width of the epiglottis and the perpendicular from a fixed point on the dorsal pharynx to the epiglottis could be used to determine the pharyngeal diameter. The percentage change of this quotient (pharynx-epiglottis-ratio; PE-ratio) in the unrestrained head-neck position against the reference position was significantly larger than that of any other combination of the head-neck positions investigated. A relation between the percentage change in PE-ratio and the degree of head and neck flexion could not be confirmed.
Conclusions
It could be shown, that the pharyngeal diameter is reduced through the contact position implemented by the rider in comparison to the unrestrained head and neck position. An alteration of the pharyngeal diameter depending on the degree of head and neck flexion (represented by ground and withers angle) could not be confirmed.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-117
PMCID: PMC4057621  PMID: 24886465
Horse; Equine pharynx; Head and neck position; Pharyngeal diameter; Upper respiratory tract
3.  The sinonasal communication in the horse: examinations using computerized three-dimensional reformatted renderings of computed-tomography datasets 
Background
Sinusitis is a common disease in the horse. In human medicine it is described, that obstruction of the sinonasal communication plays a major role in the development of sinusitis. To get spatial sense of the equine specific communication ways between the nasal cavity and the paranasal sinuses, heads of 19 horses, aged 2 to 26 years, were analyzed using three-dimensional (3D) reformatted renderings of CT-datasets. Three-dimensional models were generated following manual and semi-automated segmentation. Before segmentation, the two-dimensional (2D) CT-images were verified against corresponding frozen sections of cadaveric heads.
Results
Three-dimensional analysis of the paranasal sinuses showed the bilateral existence of seven sinus compartments: rostral maxillary sinus, ventral conchal sinus, caudal maxillary sinus, dorsal conchal sinus, frontal sinus, sphenopalatine sinus and middle conchal sinus. The maxillary septum divides these seven compartments into two sinus systems: a rostral paranasal sinus system composed of the rostral maxillary sinus and the ventral conchal sinus and a caudal paranasal sinus system which comprises all other sinuses. The generated 3D models revealed a typically configuration of the sinonasal communication ways. The sinonasal communication started within the middle nasal meatus at the nasomaxillary aperture (Apertura nasomaxillaris), which opens in a common sinonasal channel (Canalis sinunasalis communis). This common sinonasal channel ramifies into a rostral sinonasal channel (Canalis sinunasalis rostralis) and a caudo-lateral sinonasal channel (Canalis sinunasalis caudalis). The rostral sinonasal channel ventilated the rostral paranasal sinus system, the caudo-lateral sinonasal channel opened into the caudal paranasal sinus system. The rostral sinonasal channel was connected to the rostral paranasal sinuses in various ways. Whereas, the caudal channel showed less anatomical variations and was in all cases connected to the caudal maxillary sinus. Volumetric measurements of the sinonasal channels showed no statistically significant differences (P <0.05) between the right and left side of the head.
Conclusions
Under physiologic conditions both paranasal sinus systems are connected to the nasal cavity by equine specific sinonasal channels. To resolve sinus disease it is aimed to maintain or even reconstruct the normal anatomy of the sinonasal communication by surgical intervention. Therefore, the presented 3D analyses may provide a useful basis.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-72
PMCID: PMC3995307  PMID: 24646003
Horse; Computed tomography; Nasomaxillary aperture; Apertura nasomaxillaris; Upper airway; Sinonasal channel system; Paranasal sinuses
4.  A Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Risk Loci to Equine Recurrent Uveitis in German Warmblood Horses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71619.
Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is a common eye disease affecting up to 3–15% of the horse population. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the Illumina equine SNP50 bead chip was performed to identify loci conferring risk to ERU. The sample included a total of 144 German warmblood horses. A GWAS showed a significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on horse chromosome (ECA) 20 at 49.3 Mb, with IL-17A and IL-17F being the closest genes. This locus explained a fraction of 23% of the phenotypic variance for ERU. A GWAS taking into account the severity of ERU, revealed a SNP on ECA18 nearby to the crystalline gene cluster CRYGA-CRYGF. For both genomic regions on ECA18 and 20, significantly associated haplotypes containing the genome-wide significant SNPs could be demonstrated. In conclusion, our results are indicative for a genetic component regulating the possible critical role of IL-17A and IL-17F in the pathogenesis of ERU. The associated SNP on ECA18 may be indicative for cataract formation in the course of ERU.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071619
PMCID: PMC3743750  PMID: 23977091
5.  Non-genomic action of beclomethasone dipropionate on bronchoconstriction caused by leukotriene C4 in precision cut lung slices in the horse 
Background
Glucocorticoids have been proven to be effective in the therapy of recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) in horses via systemic as well as local (inhalative) administration. Elective analysis of the effects of this drug on bronchoconstriction in viable lung tissue offers an insight into the mechanism of action of the inflammatory cascade occurring during RAO which is still unclear. The mechanism of action of steroids in treatment of RAO is thought to be induced through classical genomic pathways. We aimed at electively studying the effects of the glucocorticoid beclomethasone dipropionate on equine precision-cut lung slices (PCLS).
PCLS were used to analyze ex-vivo effects of beclomethasone on inhibiting bronchoconstriction in the horse. The inhibiting effect was measured through instillation of a known mediator of inflammation and bronchoconstriction, leukotriene C4. For this, the accessory lobes of 13 horses subjected to euthanasia for reasons unrelated to the respiratory apparatus were used to obtain viable lung slices.
Results
After 30 minutes of PCLS incubation, beclomethasone showed to significantly inhibit the contraction of the bronchioles after instillation with leukotriene C4. The EC50 values of the two contraction curves (LTC4 with and without BDP) differed significantly from each other (p = 0.002). The possibility of a non-genomic rapid mechanism of action seems likely since transcriptional activities require a longer lag period.
Conclusions
In human neuroendocrinology, high levels of glucocorticoids have been proven to function via a non-genomic mechanism of membrane receptors. The concentration of beclomethasone used on the lung slices in our study can be considered as high. This allows speculation about similar rapid non-genomic mechanisms of high-dosage inhaled glucocorticoids in the lower airways of horses. However, further assessment on a molecular basis is needed to confirm this.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-160
PMCID: PMC3485115  PMID: 22963524
Beclomethasone; Horse; Leukotriene; Non-genomic membrane receptors; Recurrent airway obstruction; RAO; Precision-cut lung slices; PCLS
6.  Genome-Wide Linkage and Association Analysis Identifies Major Gene Loci for Guttural Pouch Tympany in Arabian and German Warmblood Horses 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41640.
Equine guttural pouch tympany (GPT) is a hereditary condition affecting foals in their first months of life. Complex segregation analyses in Arabian and German warmblood horses showed the involvement of a major gene as very likely. Genome-wide linkage and association analyses including a high density marker set of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were performed to map the genomic region harbouring the potential major gene for GPT. A total of 85 Arabian and 373 German warmblood horses were genotyped on the Illumina equine SNP50 beadchip. Non-parametric multipoint linkage analyses showed genome-wide significance on horse chromosomes (ECA) 3 for German warmblood at 16–26 Mb and 34–55 Mb and for Arabian on ECA15 at 64–65 Mb. Genome-wide association analyses confirmed the linked regions for both breeds. In Arabian, genome-wide association was detected at 64 Mb within the region with the highest linkage peak on ECA15. For German warmblood, signals for genome-wide association were close to the peak region of linkage at 52 Mb on ECA3. The odds ratio for the SNP with the highest genome-wide association was 0.12 for the Arabian. In conclusion, the refinement of the regions with the Illumina equine SNP50 beadchip is an important step to unravel the responsible mutations for GPT.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041640
PMCID: PMC3407181  PMID: 22848553

Results 1-6 (6)