Factors associated with Culicoides Obsoletus complex spp.-specific IgE reactivity in Icelandic horses and Shetland ponies

A. Schurink, N.M.A. van der Meide, H.F.J. Savelkoul, B.J. Ducro, E.J. Tijhaar

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is a common allergic skin disease in horses, caused by biting insects of the Culicoides spp. In The Netherlands, Culicoides spp. of the Obsoletus complex are the most important midges involved in IBH. The aim of the present study was to identify and quantify associations between several endogenous (host) and exogenous (environmental) factors and immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactivity against Obsoletus complex-derived whole body extract or seven recombinant allergens, measured by ELISA. Data from 143 Icelandic horses and 177 Shetland ponies were analysed using multivariable models. In addition, the relationship between IgE reactivity and severity of clinical signs in IBH-affected horses was examined. Positive correlations were found between Obsoletus complex-specific IgE and severity of clinical signs. Disease status (IBH affected or control), breed and the interaction between IBH status and breed were significantly associated with IgE reactivity against several Obsoletus complex allergens. Significantly greater IgE reactivity was seen in IBH-affected horses compared to controls. The differences in IgE values between cases and controls were most pronounced in Icelandic horses. Shetland pony controls had significantly greater IgE reactivity compared to Icelandic horse controls, while differences in IgE values comparing Shetland pony cases and Icelandic horse cases were not significant. Severity of clinical signs and IgE reactivity in IBH-affected horses against several Obsoletus complex allergens appeared to be related. Consideration of the factors associated with Obsoletus complex-specific IgE in horses might further improve interpretation and accuracy of IgE ELISA test results within these breeds, although further research is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • insect bite hypersensitivity
  • equine ige
  • netherlands
  • antibodies
  • diagnosis
  • allergens
  • extract


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