Laminitis is a common and debilitating disease that affects the folded and interdigitating tissues, called the lamellae, which connect the hoof wall to the underlying tissues of the horse’s foot. The lamellae normally allow the transfer of the horse's weight from the skeletal elements of the digit to the hoof wall.
Dr. Galantino-Homer founded the Laminitis Laboratory at New Bolton Center in 2008. The Laminitis Laboratory was formed in part due to the tragic loss of the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, to laminitis in January, 2007.
Our goal is to employ cell and molecular biology methods to better understand laminitis pathogenesis in order to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of this disease.
Our studies include the investigation of laminitis pathogenesis using protein biochemistry, gene expression, and histological analysis, identification of diagnostic serum biomarkers for laminitis, characterization of the keratin proteins that determine the mechanical properties of the hoof lamellae and the effect of laminitis on keratins, the impact of cell stress pathways on laminitis, characterization of the epidermal stem cell population in the lamellae, and establishing an in vitro culture system for equine hoof epidermal cells to minimize the use of live horses for laminitis research.
The Laminitis Laboratory is home to the Laminitis Discovery Database, an archive of pathology images, histology slides, and frozen lamellar tissue and serum from naturally occurring cases of laminitis and unaffected control horses. These materials are being used for several published and ongoing multi-institutional collaborative studies.