Equine metabolic syndrome: How can we intervene earlier?
Last November during the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture at the 57th Annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention, Oklahoma State University PhD student Heidi Banse, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, was one of two inaugural recipients of a $5,000 fellowship to support her endeavors in equine research. The AAEP Foundation and The EQUUS Foundation have partnered to support this fellowship, which seeks to assist equine researchers in exploring horse healthcare topics.
According to the AAEP, Banse's doctoral research, performed under the direction of Dianne McFarlane, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, focuses on the molecular events underlying equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). Middle-aged horses are most commonly affected by this endocrine disorder, which results in obesity, regional adiposity, insulin resistance and a predisposition to laminitis. If we can identify the metabolic events that lead to EMS, we may be able to diagnose and treat it earlier, resulting in a better outcome. Banse's long-term goal is to identify an intervention for horses with EMS that is based on better knowledge of endocrine disorder's pathophysiology.
Equine metabolic syndrome: An overview
This allows for increased high-energy substrate for the lower gut fermentation, which increases lactic acid concentrations, decreases pH and raises mucosal permeability. This may lead to an increase of various toxins and pro-inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1-beta) in the circulation and a potential inflammatory response—in other words, laminitis.