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Home » Archive » 2015

TDK conference 2015

Equine alpha-fetoprotein levels in mares with normal pregnancies and with pregnancy loss
Kardos Szabina - year 5
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Institute for Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science
Supervisor: Boglárka Vincze DVM

Abstract:

Alpha-fetoprotein has proved to be a good indicator of fetal compromise in human medicine for decades. Although this molecule is present in most of the mammalian species including horses, reference values are still missing for healthy and high-risk pregnant mares.

The aim of our study was to determine whether equine alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a good indicator of complicated pregnancies in Lipizzaner mares. A total of 111 serum samples from 30 mares have been analyzed for AFP levels throughout pregnancy (Days 60–325). After the pregnancy was sonographically confirmed, 23 mares had normal pregnancies with viable foals, six had late embryonic loss, and one of the mares aborted in the ninth month. Equine alpha-fetoprotein concentrations significantly differed in the normal group (72.93±49.25 pg/mL; mean±standard deviation) compared to the complicated, pregnancy loss group (152±36.48 pg/mL; mean±standard deviation). The mares’ age, gestational age, and the conception rate significantly affected the alpha-fetoprotein concentrations in the normal group. Furthermore, notable individual differences occurred in AFP concentrations between mares. Equine alpha-fetoprotein seems to be a relevant indicator of fetal well-being in horses, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding this serum protein.

Large-scale studies are needed to assess the specificity, sensitivity, and reliability of this test as a possible future diagnostic tool for fetal well-being in horses.



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