Osteochondrosis is a significant developmental disorder which affects the joints of young growing animals, including horses. The causes of the disorder are poorly understood. Although it is likely that both biomechanical and genetic factors are involved, little research has been carried out into genetic factors that may play a role.
Most research reported in the past has relied on the collection of clinically significant samples, and so do not address events in early stages of the disease. This project has taken two approaches to investigating the early events related to equine osteochondrosis, that is, events occurring when the lesions are present but not yet detectable clinically. The first approach was to compare gene expression between early lesions and normal cartilage. The second approach was to compare the plasma protein profiles between horses with early lesions and those with no lesions.
Thoroughbred breeders, owners and trainers, the veterinary research community, and basic scientists in the fields of skeletal development and pathology will be interested in the results generated from this project.