Selection of proper reference genes (RGs) is an essential step needed for accurate normalization of results from genomic studies. Expression of RGs is regulated by many factors such as species, age, gender, type of tissue, the presence of disease, and the administration of therapeutic treatment. The aim of the present study was to identify optimal RGs in a set of blood samples collected at different time points (0, 24, 48, 72 h) from horses following administration of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). The mRNA expression of twelve RGs: HPRT1, ACTB, HSP90A, SDHA, GUSB, B2M, UBC, NONO, TBP, H6PD, RPL32, GAPDH was determined using real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). An SAS program developed on the algorithm of geNorm, SASqPCR, was used to determine stability of the expression and the number of optimal RGs. The results showed that the range of quantification cycle (Cq) values of the evaluated genes varied between 17 and 26 cycles, and that one optimal RG, ACTB, was sufficient for normalization of gene expression. Results of stability of expression demonstrated that ACTB was the optimal choice for all the samples studied. Notably, in samples collected at 72 h post ESWT, TBP showed a significant change in the expression level, and was not suitable for use as a RG. These results substantiate the importance of validating and selecting an appropriate RG.
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