The horse as a research model
The samples archived in the Biobank come from horses with respiratory diseases such as heaves (RAO) and IAD (Inflammatory Airway Disease), two common equine respiratory diseases, as well as aged-matched control horses.
Heaves is an asthma-like condition affecting adult horses; clinical exacerbation of the disease is provoque by prolonged exposure to dusty bedding and hay to susceptible animals. It is characterized by difficult, labored breathing, a chronic inflammation of the airways, and the reversibility of the airway obstruction by the administration of corticosteroids and bronchodilators.
Inflammatory Airway Disease
IAD is also an inflammatory disease which causes obstruction of the lower airways. IAD affects horses of all ages and the observable clinical signs are moderate to absent at rest.
Heaves and IAD share similarities with human asthma which makes the horse a unique research model to study this important human disease. Using the horse as a research model is however limited by the availability of housing facilities and the equipment and expertise required for its study. It is therefore essential to optimize the use of each sample and to favor collaboration between researchers.
The Equine Respiratory Tissue Biobank (ERTB) has for main objective to facilitate collaboration between researchers interested in the study of heaves and IAD by simplifying access to tissues of interest. To do this, tissue samples are retrieved and put in the Biobank along with appropriate physiological measurements from the same animals. The input of information on standardized protocols brings uniformity in the method and quality of samples retrieved. There would be a great advancement in knowledge of equine respiratory diseases with the use of horses as models permitting to obtain multiple standardized samples from longitudinal studies.
One of the primary objectives of the Equine Respiratory Tissue Biobank is to simplify access to quality equine tissue samples and to facilitate the collaboration between researchers. Participating centers remains owners of their samples and manage the tissue materials according to their specific needs. Those in charge of the participating research centers as well as their technical personnel involved in the collection and conservation of the samples are listed below.