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A novel surrogate biomarker for equine osteoarthritic sub-chondral bone sclerosis

Last changed: 31 May 2023
Horse saliva sampling

In a recent article, researchers from SLU, together with colleagues from other organizations, aimed to delineate a novel soluble Biglycan Neo-epitope-BGN262 in saliva from young reference and osteoarthritic horses in conjunction with the influence of short-term training exercise, riding surface hardness, circadian rhythm, and feeding on its soluble levels.


A custom-made inhibition ELISA was used for the quantification of BGN262 in saliva. Cohort 1: A cross-sectional study comprising reference (N ​= ​19) and OA horses (N ​= ​9) with radiographically classified subchondral bone sclerosis. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to evaluate the robustness of BGN262. Cohorts 2 (N ​= ​5) & 3 (N ​= ​7): Longitudinal studies of sampling during a short-term training exercise (sand-fibre) and a cross-over design of short-training exercise on 2 different riding arenas (sand and sand-fibre), respectively. Capillary western immunoassay was used to determine the BGN262 molecular size in a selection of saliva samples collected from cohort 1.


Cohort 1: Salivary BGN262 levels were significantly higher in the OA group. The Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed an area under the curve of 0.8304 [0.6386 to 1.022], indicating a good separation from the reference group. Cohorts 2 & 3: Salivary BGN262 levels significantly changed during the exercise on sand and sand-fibre arena, with a trend towards higher levels for sand-fibre. The size of the BGN262 fragment determined by Capillary western assay was 18 ​kDa.


The data presented show saliva BGN262 levels as a novel biomarker in evaluating the influence of exercise, and interaction with riding arenas alongside assessing osteoarthritis severity.

Link to the publication


S. Adepu, M. Lord, Z. Hugoh, S. Nyström, L. Mattsson-Hulten, K. Abrahamsson-Aurell, C. Lützelschwab, E. Skiöldebrand. Salivary biglycan-neo-epitope-BGN262: A novel surrogate biomarker for equine osteoarthritic sub-chondral bone sclerosis and to monitor the effect of short-term training and surface arena. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Open (2023), volume 5, issue 2, 100354.


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