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Procalcitonin (PCT), a precursor protein of the hormone calcitonin, is a sensitive inflammatory marker in human medicine, which is primarily used for diagnosis of bacterial sepsis, but is also useful in diagnosis of exacerbation of asthma and COPD. In this study, PCT was evaluated as a potential biomarker for different chronic pneumopathies in the horse using an equine specific ELISA in comparison to established clinical markers and different interleukins.
Sixty-four horses were classified as free of respiratory disease, recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), inflammatory airway disease (IAD) or chronic interstitial pneumopathy (CIP) using a scoring system. PCT concentrations were measured in plasma (n = 17) and in the cell-free supernatant of bronchoalveolar lavage (n = 64). PCT concentrations were correlated to interleukins IL-1ß and IL-6 in BALF, clinical findings and BALF cytology.