Horses affected by EPM have increased sCD14 compared to healthy horses

Alayna N. Hay, Bettina Wagner, Caroline M. Leeth, Tanya LeRoith, Thomas E. Cecere, Kevin K. Lahmers, Frank M. Andrews, Stephen R. Werre, Amy L. Johnson, Carol K. Clark, Nicola Pusterla, Stephen M. Reed, David S. Lindsay, Sandra Taylor, Krista E. Estell, Martin Furr, Robert J. MacKay, Fabio Del Piero, Sharon G. Witonsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a debilitating neurologic disease affecting horses across the Americas. Gaps in understanding the inflammatory immune response in EPM-affected horses create difficulties with diagnosis and treatment, subsequently negatively impacting the prognosis of affected horses. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate circulating levels of the inflammatory immune marker soluble CD14 (sCD14), in horses with EPM (n = 7) and determine if they differed from healthy neurologically normal horses (n = 6). Paired sera and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were analyzed for sCD14. Inclusion criteria for EPM horses consisted of the presence of neurologic signs consistent with EPM, Sarcocystis neurona surface antigens 2, 4/3 (SnSAG 2, 4/3) ELISA serum: CSF antibody ratio ≤ 100, and a postmortem diagnosis of EPM. Control horses were neurologically normal, healthy horses with SnSAG 2, 4/3 ELISA serum: CSF antibody ratios of > 100. Serum anti-Sarcocystis neurona antibodies indicate that healthy control horses were exposed to S. neurona but resistant to developing clinical EPM. EPM cases had significantly greater concentrations of sCD14 in CSF samples compared to control horses and increased serum sCD14 concentrations. A positive correlation between sCD14 serum and CSF concentrations was observed in EPM-affected horses but not healthy horses. Soluble CD14 is an inflammatory marker, and the study results suggest it is elevated in EPM patients. When performed in conjunction with clinical evaluation and standard antibody testing, there may be potential for sCD14 to be utilized as a correlate for EPM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110338
JournalVeterinary immunology and immunopathology
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Biomarker
  • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis
  • Inflammation
  • Neurologic disease
  • Soluble CD14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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