Last changed: 30 August 2022

The research of the Section of Pathology is focused on connective tissue diseases involving the skeletal and circulatory systems in domestic animals, with a translational approach towards human medicine.

The profile of the research within the skeletal systems is, concentrated on joint diseases: such as osteoarthritis and osteochondrosis (OC) in the horse, pig, dog, cat and bovine. The research group study cartilage and bone macromolecules, metabolic, inflammatory and pain mediators, and their relation to mechanical load and pathological processes.

Equine Osteoarthritis:

Read more about the research on joint disease in horses at BVF "Forskning om ledsjukdom hos häst" (in Swedish).

  • Our research has identified biomarkers that can be used in vivo to measure destruction of articular cartilage (COMP1) and the underlying bone (BGN262). These biomarkers can be measured in blood, synovial fluid and saliva. The biomarkers can be used to diagnose early osteoarthritis lesions (not detected by radiology or MRI). The efficacy of different pharmacological drugs for joint inflammation can be monitored and the concentration of biomarkers can indicate when destructive processes in the joints have stopped during the rehabilitation program. The biomarker BGN262 can be measured in saliva from the horse, as a response to  training and be correlated to different footings and their effect on the boneremodelling in theunderlying bone
  • Together with professor MD Elisabeth Hansson, University of Gothenburg, a new pharmacologic drug combination  for treatment of equine OA has been developed and tested in a clinical trial. This compound is a disease modifying drug and decrease the concentration of the biomarkers in the joint and joint pain.  The clinical research is done in collaboration with DVM Kristin Aurell Abrahamsson, Kungsbacka equine clinic.
  • A graphene covered bit, that can measure the biomarkers in saliva during in horses at training, is under development together with associate professors Magnus Karlsten and Johan Hammersberg, Chalmers University of Technology. Additional the collaboration aims to design a biomarker panel that with the aid of AI can be used for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment evaluations and rehabilitation of OA.
  • A long time research collaboration has been ongoing with professor MD, Anders Lindahl, Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg. The outcome of the research described above is also done with a translational approach into human OA

The following in vitro-methods are well-established and used in our research: monolayer, 3D pellet and explant cultures from articular cartilage.

Feline OA

Similar to the research in horses and dogs the research is aimed at finding markers of early joint disease. The studies are aimed at characterizing changes associated with feline OA on a tissue level as well as from a whole-body perspective. Methods used include computed tomography and microscopic evaluation of joint tissue changes and a pressure mat system for gait analyses. Body composition is determined by computed tomography and investigation of possible mediators of markers for disease are evaluated in blood samples. The studies are conducted in collaboration with associate professor VMD Anna Bergh, VMD Emma Strage and VMD Charles Ley at the Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU and VMD Sarah Stadig, Falköpings Smådjursklinik.

Osteochondrosis (OC)

The early changes of vessel necrosis in porcine, equine and bovine growth cartilages, that lead to focal growth cartilage necrosis (OC latens) that can develop into osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) with subsequent pain and lameness, are studied with the aid of different imaging techniques (Micro CT, MR, LM, TEM) as well as use of biomarker panel aimed at evaluating cartilage degradation and subchondral bone remodelling and joint pain. This research is done in collaboration with professor DVM, Cathy Carlson, Minneapolis St Paul, Minnesota, USA and senior lecturer, VMD Kristin Olstad, Oslo, Norway.


In collaboration with Lillemor Mattson Hulthen at University of Gothenburg we have localized a biomarker (specific cleavage of COMP (cartilage oligomeric matrix protein)) in plasma in patients with severe atherosclerotic plaques.

Group members:

Eva Skiöldebrand, professor, DVM, PhD
Stina Ekman, professor, VMD, Diplomate of ECVP
Cecilia Ley, senior lecturer, VMD, Diplomate of ECVP
Saritha Adepu, PhD, post doc
Claudia Lützelschwab, VMD
Anna Kendall, graduate student, DVM, Diplomate of ECVIM

Research pathology


Eva Skiöldebrand, Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU, +46 18-67 21 72