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An experimental study was conducted with 13 horses to examine the effects of the carbohydrate model for laminitis on the basement membranes in epithelial tissues other than the hoof. The basement membranes of tissues from several parts of the body were examined 24 and 48 hours following the onset of laminitis.
Type IV collagen and a glycoprotein called laminin 332 were found in the hooves as well as many other equine organs and tissues including the lining of blood vessels, skin, muscle, kidney, liver, uterus, lung and several organs of the gastrointestinal tract.
Following the onset of laminitis, typical basement membrane degradation was found in the lamellar tissues of the hoof. Similar basement membrane damage was also found in tissues from the skin and stomach. Surprisingly, basement membrane damage was not found in the other organs examined, including the small intestine, colon and cecum.
The researchers concluded that although some organs seem to share the basement membrane pathologies seen with laminitis, there are others that contain Type IV collagen and Ln-332, but remain unaffected. They point out that there may be other mechanisms and factors involved in the response of these tissues to what it is that causes laminitis. Understanding these could help lead to effective prevention or treatment of laminitis.
—Visser MB and Pollit CC. J Comp Path 2010;in press.
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