Article Text

Role of the chemokine eotaxin in the pathogenesis of equine sweet itch
  1. C. Benarafa, DVM, PhD1,
  2. M. E. Collins, BSc, PhD1,
  3. A. S. Hamblin, BSc, PhD1 and
  4. E M. Cunningham, BSc, PhD2
  1. 1 Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA
  1. Center for Blood Research, Harvard Medical School, 800 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA


The chemokine eotaxin is involved in the recruitment of eosinophils and T helper 2 lymphocytes in human allergic diseases, and drugs that block its activity, including eotaxin receptor (CCR3) antagonists, are being developed. The authors have recently cloned the horse ortholog of eotaxin and shown that it can induce equine eosinophil migration and activation in vitro. Moreover, eotaxin MRNA expression was upregulated in cultured horse dermal fibroblasts exposed to equine interleukin-4, suggesting a possible source of this eosinophil chemoattractant in equine skin. The results of this study show that eotaxin and monocyte chemoattractant protein (McP) 1, but not MCP-2 or MCP-4, mRNA expression is upregulated in skin biopsies of sweet itch lesions when eosinophils are present, when compared with clinically normal skin from the same ponies.

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