An acute phase reaction was elicited in four horses to which Freund's adjuvant was administered intramuscularly. The localised inflammation was accompanied by changes in the plasma concentrations of copper, iron and zinc. The plasma copper concentration, the plasma ceruloplasmin copper concentration and the ceruloplasmin oxidase activity in the plasma steadily increased to a maximum 24 days after the administration of the adjuvant. At this time, the plasma copper concentration was 2.2 micrograms/ml, a 90 per cent increase over the baseline concentration. The ratio of the concentration of plasma ceruloplasmin copper to plasma copper remained constant, indicating that the non-ceruloplasmin bound copper component of the plasma is also an acute phase reactant in the horse. The plasma zinc and iron concentrations decreased to 59 per cent and 30 per cent of their respective baseline concentrations and the severity of the inflammation appeared to influence the plasma concentrations of each metal. Weak correlations between the plasma fibrinogen concentration and the plasma copper and zinc concentrations of 25 horses with plasma fibrinogen concentrations of 5 g/litre or greater indicated that a single measurement of plasma copper concentration is not useful in the diagnosis of non-specific inflammatory disorders of the horse. However, the results suggest that the plasma copper concentrations in serial samples may be used to monitor the resolution of inflammatory disorders in the horse.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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