• Open Access

Relationships between Body Condition Score and Plasma Inflammatory Cytokines, Insulin, and Lipids in a Mixed Population of Light-Breed Horses

Authors

  • J.K. Suagee,

    1. Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
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  • B.A. Corl,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dairy Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
    • Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
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  • M.V. Crisman,

    1. Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA
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  • R.S. Pleasant,

    1. Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA
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  • C.D. Thatcher,

    1. Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA
    Current affiliation:
    1. College of Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ
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  • R.J. Geor

    1. Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
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  • Presented at the 2011 Meeting of the Equine Science Society, Murfreesboro, TN June 2011

Corresponding author: B.A. Corl, Department of Dairy Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060-0315; e-mail: bcorl@vt.edu

Abstract

Background

Obesity and hyperinsulinemia increase the risk of laminitis in horses and ponies. In mares, obesity also has been associated with increased circulating concentrations of the proinflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. The association of other proinflammatory cytokines with body condition score (BCS) and insulin requires further determination.

Hypothesis

Plasma concentrations of TNF, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and serum amyloid A (SAA) will positively correlate with BCS or insulin or both in horses. Furthermore, inflammatory protein concentrations will correlate with age and variables associated with BCS, including plasma insulin, triglycerides, nonesterified fatty acids, and leptin concentrations.

Animals

One hundred and ten mixed light-breed horses, including mares, geldings, and stallions, aged 4–20 years.

Methods

Samples were selected from a larger population of plasma samples previously collected during June–July of 2006. Samples were analyzed for TNF, IL-1β, IL-6, and SAA using commercially available ELISAs and simple correlations were used to determine relationships with BCS, insulin, age, and sex.

Results

Plasma TNF (= .047) and IL-6 (= .021) concentrations were higher in females than males, whereas IL-6 concentrations correlated (= .001) with age. Plasma SAA concentrations correlated with both insulin (< .001) and BCS (= .007).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

This study provides evidence for factors, including age and sex, that may be associated with plasma concentrations of inflammatory proteins. Concentrations of SAA correlated with BCS and insulin, independent of age or sex. Because BCS and insulin correlate with increased SAA, it is possible that SAA is a component of laminitis pathophysiology.

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