Thoroughbred groups have high hopes for mRNA study of catastrophic injury
In the United States, two groups of thoroughbreds are helping fund a study to identify horses at risk of catastrophic injury through analysis of messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in blood samples.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) are jointly funding a $25,000 grant for the study by Drs. Allen Page, Emma Adam and David Horohov of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky.
Messenger RNA is a single-stranded RNA molecule generated from DNA by the process of transcription. This mRNA carries the genetic information specifying a particular amino acid sequence, which can then be used to create a protein through the process of translation.
It has recently been demonstrated that horses with catastrophic injuries significantly altered the expression of IGF-1, IL1RN and MMP2 compared to uninjured control horses. Based on all data and research to date, it is believed that Thoroughbreds that sustain a catastrophic injury during racing will demonstrate multiple pre-race differences in mRNA expression compared to uninjured control horses. and of the same race.
Chauncey Morris, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, said the research should provide owners of thoroughbred racehorses and their trainers and veterinarians with an essential and valuable diagnostic tool to ensure the health of their horses.
“The industry’s collective search for new scientific methods to search for internal and external variables to reduce catastrophic injury is a step in the right direction,” Morris said.
TOBA President Dan Metzger said both organizations are committed to the health and safety of racehorses.
“We are encouraged by the progress made by Dr Page and his colleagues. If successful, the study will have a lasting and profound impact on our sport.
Kentucky is the largest producer of thoroughbred foals in the world, responsible for 38% of foal production in the United States, the largest concentration of stallions, veterinary practices and breeding farms, and home to the largest yearling and sire sales, first race meetings at Keeneland, Kentucky Downs and the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and year-round races at Turfway Park and Ellis Park.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, Inc. is a riding group and trade association representing Thoroughbred breeding and racing in Kentucky.
The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), based in Lexington, Kentucky, was established in 1961 and is a national trade organization of leading owners and breeders of Thoroughbreds. TOBA’s mission is to improve the economy, integrity and enjoyment of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders.