Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Veterinary Science

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel K. Howe


Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), caused by the protozoan parasite Sarcocystis neurona, is one of the most important neurological diseases of horses in the Americas. While seroprevalence of S. neurona in horses is high, clinical manifestation of EPM occurs in less than 1% of infected horses. Factors governing the occurrence and severity of EPM are largely unknown, although horse immunity might play an important role in clinical outcome. We hypothesize that EPM occurs due to an aberrant immune response, which will be discernable in the equine IgG subisotypes a, b, and (T) that recognize S. neurona in infected diseased horses versus infected but clinically healthy horses. Based on previously-established serum antibody concentrations for IgG subisotypes in healthy horses, standard curves were generated and served to establish the concentration of antigen-specific IgG subisotypes in equine serum and CSF in infected diseased and infected normal horses. The subisotype concentrations and ratios between subisotypes were analyzed to assess whether neurological disease is associated with detectable differences in the antibody response elicited by infection. Results indicate a type I biased immune response in infected diseased horses, implicating the role of immunity in the development of EPM.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)