IRAP in Equine Osteooathritis

Pictured are the final IRAP product ready to be injected back into the joint. (Courtesy photo)

By Dr. Bellefeuille, DVM, MS

Lameness due to joint disease is detrimental in the equine industry. Osteoarthritis and joint disease cause the largest economic impact in performance and aged horses. Over the last decade new advances in scientific therapies have been introduced to the equine market that allow veterinarians to treat the once thought of untreatable osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) are two of the primary proinflammatory cytokines that initiate the destructive cascade of osteoarthritis leading to a vicious cycle of cartilage erosion/damage and lameness. Therefore, IL-1 and TNF are two of the most targeted cytokines to help slow and even stop the destructive process that occurs within joints during osteoarthritis. Autologous conditioned serum is produced by conditioning certain blood components to increase their production of components that counteract or interfere with the IL-1 and TNF pathways.
Our ability to condition a horse’s own blood into a product that can be injected back into joints has come a long way in the past few years. The most widely used autologous conditioned serum product is IRAP. IRAP stands for Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein. It was developed to counteract IL-1 that is produced in the traumatized joint leading to cartilage damage and lameness. IRAP works by preventing the binding of IL-1 to its receptor, therefore blocking the damage and inflammation caused by IL-1. To read more pick up the April 2016 issue of NTFR.