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Research in humans has demonstrated that high serum iron (sFe) concentration can predispose to infection, and many infections subsequently result in alterations of host sFe. A decrease in sFe concentration is an early and sensitive indicator of systemic inflammation caused by tissue necrosis, bacterial infections, or endotoxemia in horses. Serum iron parameters in acute equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) infection have not been evaluated previously.
To document the sFe response to EHV-1 infection and to determine whether or not significant differences in sFe concentration exist between EHV-1 infected horses that develop neurologic disease and those that do not.
A total of 14 horses experimentally infected with EHV-1.
Data were collected as an ancillary data set during a blinded experimental EHV-1 infection. Horses were infected with the rAb4 strain of EHV-1. Temperature, neurologic score, packed cell volume (PCV), and sFe parameters (sFe concentration, % saturation, and total iron-binding capacity) were recorded daily for 2 weeks. Data were evaluated using Wilcoxon signed rank tests and Wilcoxon rank sum tests with Bonferroni corrections.
Serum iron concentration decreases significantly in a biphasic pattern after EHV-1 infection. There was no significant difference in sFe concentration in horses that developed neurologic disease and those that did not in these experimentally infected animals. Serum iron parameters may be useful in monitoring the clinical course of viral infections such as EHV-1.