RNA-Seq evaluated for EPO micro-dosing test in race horses

From BloodHorse.com by Frank Angst

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved $147,000 from the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council fund for a two-year study that aims to develop an affordable test to detect horses that have been given small levels—microdoses—of erythropoietin.

Heather Knych, of the Ken L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California-Davis, will conduct the study….

In human athletes detection of micro-dosing of EPO has focused on identifying changes at the cellular level, in ribonucleic acid transcription signatures that are indicative of altered red blood cell production. The research intends to follow this lead by applying RNA transcription sequencing to equine blood samples to determine if the approach used in humans could be applied to horses…

For the study, the investigators propose administering rHuEPO to a six-horse test group and saline to a four-horse control group. Blood samples will be collected throughout the seven-week administration period and for three weeks after the final treatment. The blood will be subjected to RNA sequencing with test horse results compared to control horse results. The top 10 differentially expressed transcripts will be validated and the applicability of the method will be tested by analysis of samples from another set of horses administered micro-doses of rHuEPO.

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