The Summary is available in Chinese – see Supporting information.
ANALYTICAL CLINICAL STUDIES
Abnormal plasma neuroactive progestagen derivatives in ill, neonatal foals presented to the neonatal intensive care unit
Article first published online: 22 APR 2013
© 2013 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal
Volume 45, Issue 6, pages 661–665, November 2013
How to Cite
Aleman, M., Pickles, K. J., Conley, A. J., Stanley, S., Haggett, E., Toth, B. and Madigan, J. E. (2013), Abnormal plasma neuroactive progestagen derivatives in ill, neonatal foals presented to the neonatal intensive care unit. Equine Veterinary Journal, 45: 661–665. doi: 10.1111/evj.12065
- Issue published online: 14 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 22 APR 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 19 FEB 2013 05:24AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 16 MAR 2011
- anonymous, private donors to the Equine and Comparative Neurology Research Group
Reasons for performing the study
Increased levels of pregnanes have been reported in foals with neonatal maladjustment syndrome (NMS). These steroids may cross the blood–brain barrier and have depressive effects in the central nervous system leading to behavioural abnormalities and altered states of consciousness in affected foals.
The aim of this study was to determine the pregnane profile of foals with NMS and compare it with that of healthy controls and sick, non-NMS foals.
Thirty-two foals with a clinical diagnosis of NMS, 12 foals with other neonatal disorders and 10 healthy control foals were selected for the study. Heparinised blood samples were collected from each group of foals and pregnane and androgen concentrations determined using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry at 0, 24 and 48 h of age.
Healthy foals showed a significant decrease in pregnane concentrations over the first 48 h of life (P<0.01). Foals with NMS and sick, non-NMS foals had significantly increased progesterone, pregnenolone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone and epitestosterone concentrations compared with healthy foals (P<0.05). Progesterone and pregnenolone concentrations of sick, non-NMS foals decreased significantly over 48 h (P<0.05), whereas concentrations in NMS foals remained increased.
Conclusions and potential relevance
Pregnane concentrations of ill, neonatal foals remain increased following birth, reflecting a delayed, or interrupted, transition from intra- to extra-uterine life. Serial progesterone and pregnenolone measurement may be useful in aiding diagnosis of NMS.