Carbonic anhydrase activity and sweat gland morphology in trained and untrained Standardbred trotters


Department of Animal Physiology, Box 7045, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, S-75007, Sweden.


Sweat gland morphology and carbonic anhydrase (CA) distribution was studied after exercise in trained and untrained horses using a histochemical technique and light microscopic image analysis. Three trained and 3 untrained Standardbred trotters performed an exercise test (20 min trot at 6 m/s with 5 min walk at 1.8 m/s in the beginning and end) on a high-speed treadmill at 35°C. Skin biopsies were taken before exercise and after trot. The fluid loss after exercise was 10, 12 and 12 g/kg bwt in the untrained horses and 4, 6 and 11 g/kg in the trained. Trained horses had a larger cell area than untrained after exercise, which might be related to an increase in secretory capacity. The area of the cell occupied by CA was independent of training status, but increased with exercise in both groups. The CA activity was higher in untrained animals and increased after exercise in both groups. The change in CA during exercise might be a response to an increasing demand for HCO3- secretion during sweat formation. Therefore, the sweat gland undergoes morphological changes due to stimuli such as heat, exercise and training, but species differences are evident. To our knowledge, no one has previously studied the influence of training on the morphology of the equine sweat gland.