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Effects of hypothyroidism and withholding of feed on plasma lipid concentrations, concentration and composition of very-low-density lipoprotein, and plasma lipase activity in horses

Nicholas Frank DVM, PhD1,2, Janice E. Sojka VMD, MS3, and Mickey A. Latour PhD4
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1248.
  • | 2 Present address is Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4545.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1248.
  • | 4 Department of Animal Sciences, School of Agriculture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1248.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate selected concentrations of blood lipids and lipase activities in euthyroid and hypothyroid horses deprived of feed for 96 hours.

Animals—4 healthy adult mares and 4 thyroidectomized adult mares.

Procedure—Horses were deprived of feed for 96 hours. Blood samples were collected at 24-hour intervals and analyzed to determine concentrations of nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) as well as composition of VLDL. Plasma lipase activities were measured after feed was withheld for 96 hours and 12 days after resumption of feeding.

Results—Time significantly affected plasma NEFA, VLDL, TG, and TC concentrations in both groups of horses. During the 96-hour period, mean plasma concentrations of NEFA and VLDL increased 10-fold in euthyroid horses and increased 5-fold and 9-fold, respectively, in hypothyroid horses. Mean plasma TG concentrations increased 8-fold in both groups, and plasma TC concentrations significantly increased by 33 and 30%, respectively. Composition of VLDL was significantly affected by feed deprivation in euthyroid horses. Activities of lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase were significantly higher in feed-deprived horses. Activity of hepatic lipase was significantly lower in hypothyroid horses than in euthyroid horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hypothyroidism did not significantly alter the magnitude of the response of blood lipids to feed deprivation. Thyroid hormones may reduce variability in blood lipid concentrations but do not determine susceptibility to hyperlipemia. Hypothyroidism does not appear to be a factor in the pathogenesis of hyperlipemia in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:823–828)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate selected concentrations of blood lipids and lipase activities in euthyroid and hypothyroid horses deprived of feed for 96 hours.

Animals—4 healthy adult mares and 4 thyroidectomized adult mares.

Procedure—Horses were deprived of feed for 96 hours. Blood samples were collected at 24-hour intervals and analyzed to determine concentrations of nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) as well as composition of VLDL. Plasma lipase activities were measured after feed was withheld for 96 hours and 12 days after resumption of feeding.

Results—Time significantly affected plasma NEFA, VLDL, TG, and TC concentrations in both groups of horses. During the 96-hour period, mean plasma concentrations of NEFA and VLDL increased 10-fold in euthyroid horses and increased 5-fold and 9-fold, respectively, in hypothyroid horses. Mean plasma TG concentrations increased 8-fold in both groups, and plasma TC concentrations significantly increased by 33 and 30%, respectively. Composition of VLDL was significantly affected by feed deprivation in euthyroid horses. Activities of lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase were significantly higher in feed-deprived horses. Activity of hepatic lipase was significantly lower in hypothyroid horses than in euthyroid horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hypothyroidism did not significantly alter the magnitude of the response of blood lipids to feed deprivation. Thyroid hormones may reduce variability in blood lipid concentrations but do not determine susceptibility to hyperlipemia. Hypothyroidism does not appear to be a factor in the pathogenesis of hyperlipemia in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:823–828)