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For many years total alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity in serum has been used to monitor bone metabolism in different species. However, total AP lacks bone specificity because the total activity in serum is made up of several isoenzymes, of which the liver and bone isoforms predominate. The aim of the present study was to evaluate an immunoradiometric assay for measuring bone specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP) in horses. BAP, a specific marker of bone formation, was measured in sera from thoroughbred horses by using a previously characterised wheat germ lectin (WGL) precipitation assay and an immunoradiometric assay. The levels of immunoreactive BAP (iBAP) and WGL precipitated BAP (wBAP) were related to the serum levels of total AP and another marker of bone formation, the carboxy-terminal propeptide of type 1 collagen (PICP). In horses over one year old, iBAP correlated at least as strongly with total AP as with wBAP, which suggests that the immunoradiometric assay may partially cross-react with liver alkaline phosphatase in horse serum. This possibility was supported by the observation that there was a weaker correlation between iBAP and PICP than between wBAP and PICP. These data indicate that WGL precipitation is currently the most specific method for measuring bone specific alkaline phosphatase in horses.

Original publication




Journal article


Res vet sci

Publication Date





160 - 164


Aging, Alkaline Phosphatase, Animals, Biomarkers, Bone Development, Bone and Bones, Female, Horses, Isoenzymes, Liver, Radioimmunoassay, Regression Analysis, Reproducibility of Results