IRAP stands for Interluekin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein and recently is being referred to as autologous conditioned serum. Equine athletes are susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries and osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of lameness in horses. Clinical signs include lameness, joint swelling and inflammation. These signs are a result of cartilage damage within the joint and inflammation of the joint lining or synovitis. Joint trauma results in the release of inflammatory mediators such as IL-1 and other cytokines. These cytokines including IL-1 can lead to further cartilage damage causing a vicious cycle of cartilage and joint damage which result in joint inflammation and lameness.
IRAP was developed to counteract IL-1 that is produced in the traumatized joint and to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. IRAP works by preventing IL-1 binding to the IL-1 receptors in the joint therefore blocking the damage and inflammation caused by IL-1.
IRAP involves drawing approximately 50 mls of your horse’s blood into a specialized syringe which stimulates the production of the antagonist protein. The blood is incubated in the syringe for 24 hours. After incubation the blood is placed in a centrifuge and the plasma which is rich in the antagonist protein is separated from the blood cells in multiple syringes. IRAP is then injected into the joint once every 7-10 days for 3-5 treatments. Samples are stored in a -80 C freezer until use.