The association between collagen and bone biomarkers and radiographic osteoarthritis in the distal tarsal joints of horses

E. B. Coppelman, F. H. David, F. Tóth, N. S. Ernst, T. N. Trumble

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6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA) of the distal intertarsal (DIT) and tarsometatarsal (TMT) joints occurs commonly. Synovial fluid (SF) biomarkers of collagen and bone turnover have potential clinical value.

OBJECTIVES: To measure SF biomarker concentrations from DIT and TMT joints in adult horses and determine if they correlate with radiographic OA severity and are higher in joints with radiographic OA compared to controls.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional.

METHODS: Radiographic OA of DIT and TMT joints was evaluated from adult horses (5-35 years old). Overall radiographic scores divided horses into those with mild or moderate radiographic OA (16 joints from 9 horses) or controls (13 joints from 9 horses). Direct biomarkers of OA (Carboxypropeptide of type II collagen = CPII, carboxy-neoepitope of type II collagen exposed after collagenase-cleavage = C2C, Bone alkaline phosphatase = BAP and Chondroitin sulfate epitope = CS846) were measured via ELISA and CPII/C2C was calculated. Biomarkers were correlated with radiographic findings and concentrations from those with radiographic OA to control joints and were compared.

RESULTS: Concentrations of CPII (R = 0.84, P<0.001), C2C (R = 0.69, P<0.001) and BAP (R = 0.41, P = 0.03) as well as CPII/C2C (R = 0.69, P<0.001) values positively correlated with overall radiographic scores. Adjusted means ± s.d., after controlling for age, for CPII (P<0.001), C2C (P<0.001), CPII/C2C (P = 0.004) and BAP (P = 0.05) were significantly higher in DIT and TMT joints with radiographic OA (CPII: 2174.45 ± 1064.01; C2C: 233.52 ± 51.187; CPII/C2C: 9.01 ± 4.09; BAP: 21.98 ± 15.34) compared to controls (CPII: 594.53 ± 463.05; C2C: 153.12 ± 48.95; CPII/C2C: 3.96 ± 2.38; BAP: 12.76 ± 3.61). CPII (P<0.001), C2C (P = 0.001) and CPII/C2C (P = 0.001) were significantly higher with moderate radiographic OA (CPII: 2444.61 ± 772.78; C2C: 248.90 ± 44.94; CPII/C2C: 9.47 ± 2.97) compared to controls (CPII: 658.38 ± 417.36; C2C: 156.49 ± 47.61; CPII/C2C: 4.15 ± 2.04), with CPII also showing significantly higher concentrations (P = 0.04) with mild radiographic OA compared (1515.00 ± 584.95) to controls (658.38 ± 417.36). There were no differences in CS846 concentrations between radiographic OA and control joints. Age positively correlated with CPII (R = 0.48, P = 0.01) and C2C (R = 0.44, P = 0.02) concentrations.

MAIN LIMITATIONS: Radiographic OA was assessed, not clinical lameness. Controls were not age-matched to those with spontaneous radiographic OA.

CONCLUSIONS: There is an association between collagen (CPII, C2C and CPII/C2C) and bone (BAP) biomarkers and radiographic OA in the distal tarsal joints of horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-398
Number of pages8
JournalEquine veterinary journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the University of Minnesota Equine Center with funds provided by the Minnesota Agricultural Experimental.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 EVJ Ltd


  • biomarker
  • distal intertarsal joint
  • horse
  • osteoarthritis
  • tarsometatarsal joint
  • tarsus
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Horse Diseases
  • Animals
  • Osteoarthritis/veterinary
  • Collagen
  • Biomarkers
  • Horses
  • Tarsal Joints

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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