Leukotrienes are products of the arachidonic acid metabolism and act as potent inflammatory mediators modulating the immune response and various physiological processes. This study evaluated the expression and activity of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), the enzyme that catalyzes the first two steps in the biosynthesis of leukotrienes, in horses infected by larval cyathostomins. Tissue samples from dorsal and ventral colon, and from the cecum were collected from 16 horses slaughtered for human consumption. Samples were analyzed to estimate the burdens of encysted cyathostomin larvae and adult luminal stages, and then processed for the evaluation of biochemical parameters. No significant differences were found in the protein expression and enzymatic activity of 5-LOX between animals harbouring only adult parasites and negative horses. The protein expression and enzyme activity of 5-LOX were significantly higher in horses harbouring encysted larvae in comparison with horses free of encysted larvae. Although preliminary, these results indicate that 5-LOX is an important mediator in the course of horse cyathostominosis and further studies are warranted to unveil the possible role this enzyme plays in the pathogenesis of horse cyathostominosis, and its potential as a diagnostic marker.
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