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The effects of short intensive exercise on plasma free amino acids in standardbred trotters


Rene van den Hoven, Clinical Department of Small Animals and Horses, Clinic of Equine Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna, A-1210 Vienna, Austria. Tel: +43 1 250 77 51 03; Fax: + 43 1 250 77 51 90; E-mail:


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of short intense exercise on plasma amino acid concentrations in trotters and to test the repeatability of plasma amino acids concentration in samples obtained on two independent days under field conditions. Plasma amino acid concentrations were analysed in blood samples of 36 standardbred trotters before and after intense exercise over a distance of 2000 m. Sampling was repeated in 20 horses after 35 days. Exercise intensity was estimated from post-exercise lactate levels. Horses were divided in two groups according to a cut-off lactate concentration at 15 mmol/l. The plasma concentrations of alanine, aspartate, glutamate, isoleucine, leucine, lysine and taurine increased and arginine, asparagine, citrulline, glutamine, glycine, histidine, methionine, serine, tryptophan and 3-methylhistidine decreased after exercise. Ornithine, threonine, tyrosine, phenylalanine and valine concentrations remained constant. Higher intensity of exercise significantly decreased tryptophan and increased taurine concentrations. Sampling day had a significant effect on the absolute pre- and post-exercise amino acid concentrations. Exercise had a significant influence on the concentrations of most plasma amino acids in trotters. These changes could reflect shifts between the free amino acid compartments, but there were also some indications for muscle catabolism. The amino acid supply of sporting horses could be of specific significance for maintaining muscle integrity and for the improvement of post-exercise recovery of competition horses.