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Stemness and the Post-Injection Response of the Equine Joint to MSC Injection

Jessica Xu, Texas A&M University
Cases/Abstracts, Honorable Mention

Jiajie Jessica Xu, Amanda-Jo Joswig, Ashlee Watts
Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Lab, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University
Merial Veterinary Scholars Program and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
Link Equine Research Endowment

Stemness and the Post-Injection Response of the Equine Joint to MSC Injection

A mesynchymal stem cell (MSC)’s ability to undergo trilineage differentiation into osteoblasts, adipocytes, and chondroblasts in vitro is one of the defining characteristics of MSC stemness. This quality allows MSCs to be used as a source of cells in tissue engineering and cell therapy. In addition to cellular differentiation, MSCs also play a role in modulating inflammatory responses by releasing anti-inflammatory factors during tissue repair. Though traditional stemness has been associated with effective tissue repair, the relationship between MSC stemness and immunomodulatory function is unknown. To study this, bone marrow derived MSCs were collected from 6 horses, and injected autologously. The same MSCs were also injected allogeneically into 6 separate horses. Joint fluid cytologic analysis was performed on injected joints to assess the inflammatory response. Stem cells from the donor horses were then cultured in vitro and tested for their ability to undergo trilineage differentiation using visual grading systems. By comparing MSC inflammatory response with stemness qualities, this study re-examines the criteria of what it means to be an effective stem cell. 



Hannah Fearing, University of Georgia

Creative Corner, Winner



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Surfactant protein D as a biomarker of bronchopneumonia in calves

Jennifer Storer, University of Tennessee
Cases/Abstracts, Honorable Mention
Title: Surfactant protein D as a biomarker of bronchopneumonia in calves.
Bronchopneumonia in cattle is a costly disease caused by multiple pathogens. Mannheimia haemolytica is the most frequently isolated etiologic agent and induces tremendous inflammation through the production of a leukotoxin. Surfactant protein D is produced by type II pneumocytes and is tissue specific for the lungs. During alveolar inflammation these proteins are up-regulated and may be released into the blood. We hypothesized that these proteins could be detected in the serum and serve as biomarkers for alveolar membrane damage and overall pulmonary inflammation. This study used bronchoselective endoscopic inoculation of Mannheimia haemolytica or sterile saline of the right apical lung lobe in twelve 4 month old dairy calves. Six principal calves received 3-5 x 109 colony forming units of M. haemolytica in a 5mL suspension of phosphate-buffered saline, while 6 control calves received an equivalent volume of sterile phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Serum and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were collected to analyze surfactant protein D with a bovine specific ELISA. Serum samples were collected daily for seven days, while BAL samples were collected on days 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7. Calves were additionally assigned a clinical illness score twice daily and a datalogger outfitted with accelerometers were placed on the left rear fetlock of each calf to assess behavioral changes. We hope the results of this study will provide information for the use of surfactant proteins in the diagnosis of BRD.



The One That Got Away

Stephanie Massey, Texas A&M University

Experiences, Honorable Mention


Feverishly squirming with no other objective but freedom. Flailing arms with dangerous, dragon like claws and beady eyes sizing up his captors. 

“Let’s just put him back in the cage,” the grad student in our group suggested.

Our victim: a white lab rat, at the mercy of a group of first year veterinary students simply trying to learn about the effects of hormones on the body during their weekly physiology lab.

His captor started edging towards the box, his prison. His senses heightened, the rat began struggling, going into an alligator like roll clawing mercilessly at the first year’s bare hands. She managed to drop him in his box and was beginning to close the lid when the rat quickly took his opportunity for escape, making an incredible leap out of the box and off the table. He rapidly scurried along the floor from one cubicle area into another group’s. Over eight veterinary students hot on his trail, we surely had the rat surrounded.

He was cornered, with only a cabinet at his back, nowhere for him to go. Trapped like the rat he was. The eight veterinary students began closing in on him slowly from every angle. And suddenly, POOF! As if by magic, the rat was gone.

We ran to the cabinet at this point and frantically tried to open it, hoping to recover our lost prisoner, but the cabinet was securely fastened. Upon closer inspection a small hole was noted going from the floor into the cabinet. One of my classmates quickly contacted a technician to unlock the cabinet. We were on hot pursuit of our prey, we had him now. How could he escape the cabinet?

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Reproduction block inspired cartoons

Chanel Baron, UC Davis

Foot In Mouth Disease, Honorable Mention