In human medicine, procalcitonin (PCT), the precursor of calcitonin, is used for the rapid identification of the origin and severity of sepsis. In veterinary medicine, PCT has been studied in horses, cattle, and dogs, but the use of PCT in diagnostic and/or prognostic settings is not possible because of the lack of validated assays to obtain reference ranges. The aim of the present study was the investigation of commercially available ELISA kits for the detection of canine and equine PCT in plasma samples. Validation of the ELISA kits was performed by using species-specific recombinant proteins spiked both in plasma and buffer samples; linearity, limit of detection (LOD), recovery, and intra-assay and inter-assay variability were calculated. Moreover, clinical samples obtained from sick and healthy animals were also analyzed with the tested kits. Canine PCT was measured with a recombinant canine and a canine PCT ELISA kit. Equine PCT was measured with an equine and a human ELISA PCT kit. Our data demonstrate that the canine recombinant PCT ELISA kit can be used to measure canine PCT in plasma samples, showing an intra-assay and inter-assay coefficient of variation less than 20% and a LOD of 11 pg/mL, whereas the present results do not support the use of the canine PCT ELISA kit. The human PCT ELISA kit is suitable to detect equine PCT with a LOD of 56 ng/mL, whereas the equine PCT ELISA kit did not detect recombinant equine PCT.
Keywords: ELISA; canine; equine; procalcitonin; validation.