• horse;
  • muscle;
  • exercise;
  • ATP;
  • lactate;
  • uric acid


The purpose of this study was to develop a standardised maximal treadmill exercise test performed until fatigue in order to find reproducible markers for anaerobic metabolism, specifically adenine nucleotide degradation. Six Standardbred trotters performed an incremental maximal treadmill exercise test in 1 min steps (starting with 7 m/s) until they could no longer keep pace with the treadmill. The test was performed twice with at least one week between the tests. Heart rate was recorded and venous blood samples were obtained during the test and in the recovery period for determination of plasma lactate, hypoxanthine, xanthine and uric acid. Muscle biopsy samples (m. gluteus) were collected at rest, immediately post exercise, and after 15 min recovery and analysed for their concentrations of glycogen, creatine phosphate (CP), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), adenosine monophosphate (AMP), inosine monophosphate (IMP) and muscle lactate (MLa). Significant decreases in glycogen, CP and ATP and significant increases in IMP and MLa were seen immediately post exercise. None of these metabolites had returned to resting levels after 15 min of recovery. A marked increase in plasma lactate (PLa) occurred during exercise and the peak concentration (mean value = 27.2 mmol/l) was reached within 5 min of recovery. Plasma uric acid concentration did not increase during exercise but rose markedly immediately post exercise, reaching the highest level (mean value = 121.5 pmol/l) at 20–30 min recovery. The duration of the maximal test was related to peak PLa and the uric acid concentration at 30 min of recovery. A correlation was also found between the ATP and IMP concentrations immediately post exercise and the plasma uric acid concentration at 30 min of recovery. The results show that this treadmill test triggered anaerobic metabolism and also that uric acid concentration post exercise seems to be a marker for the adenine nucleotide degradation that occurs during intense exercise. No significant differences were seen in metabolic response between the 2 test occasions.