Thoroughbred organizations contribute $25,000 for mRNA study into catastrophic injury

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association are funding to effort to to identify horses at genetic risk for catastrophic injury.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association are jointly funding a $25,000 grant directed to a catastrophic injury study conducted at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center.

Horses who experience catastrophic injuries have significantly altered expression of IGF-1, IL1RN, and MMP2 when compared to non-injured control horses.

The study will seek to identify horses at risk for catastrophic injury through the use of mRNA expression analysis of blood samples. Drs. Allen Page, Emma Adam and David Horohov of the Gluck Center previously developed an approach for identifying horses at risk for catastrophic injury through the use of mRNA expression analysis of blood samples. It was recently demonstrated that horses with catastrophic injuries have significantly altered expression of IGF-1, IL1RN, and MMP2 when compared to non-injured control horses. Based on all the data and research to date, it is believed that Thoroughbreds which experience a catastrophic injury during racing will demonstrate multiple pre-race differences in mRNA expression when compared with non-injured, race-matched control horses.

“Allen’s research should provide our Thoroughbred racehorse owners and their trainers and veterinarians a critical and valuable diagnostic tool in ensuring the health of their horses,” said Chauncey Morris, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. “Collective industry research on novel scientific methods looking for internal and external variables in order to reduce catastrophic injury is a step in the right direction.”

“TOBA and KTA are both committed to the health and safety of our Thoroughbred athletes, and we are encouraged by the progress being made by Dr. Page and his colleagues,” said Dan Metzger, president of TOBA. “If successful, the CI Study will have a lasting and far-reaching influence on our sport.”