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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Salivary biglycan-neo-epitope-BGN262: A novel surrogate biomarker for equine osteoarthritic sub-chondral bone sclerosis and to monitor the effect of short-term training and surface arena

Adepu, Saritha; Lord, M.; Hugoh, Z.; Nystrom, S.; Mattsson-Hulten, L.; Abrahamsson-Aurell, K.; Lützelschwab, Claudia; Skiöldebrand, Eva



We aimed to delineate a novel soluble Biglycan Neo-epitope-BGN262 in saliva from young reference and osteoarthritic horses in conjunction with the influence of short-term training exercise, riding surface hardness, circadian rhythm, and feeding on its soluble levels.


A custom-made inhibition ELISA was used for the quantification of BGN262 in saliva. Cohort 1: A cross-sectional study comprising reference (N ​= ​19) and OA horses (N ​= ​9) with radiographically classified subchondral bone sclerosis. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to evaluate the robustness of BGN262. Cohorts 2 (N ​= ​5) & 3 (N ​= ​7): Longitudinal studies of sampling during a short-term training exercise (sand-fibre) and a cross-over design of short-training exercise on 2 different riding arenas (sand and sand-fibre), respectively. Capillary western immunoassay was used to determine the BGN262 molecular size in a selection of saliva samples collected from cohort 1.


Cohort 1: Salivary BGN262 levels were significantly higher in the OA group. The Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed an area under the curve of 0.8304 [0.6386 to 1.022], indicating a good separation from the reference group. Cohorts 2 & 3: Salivary BGN262 levels significantly changed during the exercise on sand and sand-fibre arena, with a trend towards higher levels for sand-fibre. The size of the BGN262 fragment determined by Capillary western assay was 18 ​kDa.


The data presented show saliva BGN262 levels as a novel biomarker in evaluating the influence of exercise, and interaction with riding arenas alongside assessing osteoarthritis severity.


Biglycan neo-epitope; Osteoarthritis; Saliva; Training; Riding surface

Published in

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Open
2023, Volume: 5, number: 2, article number: 100354