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Effect of repeated oral administration of glucose and leucine immediately after exercise on plasma insulin concentration and glycogen synthesis in horses

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 4 Department of Equine Studies, National Center for Education in Trotting, Wången, SE-835 93 Alsen, Sweden.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether repeated oral administration of glucose and leucine during the period immediately after intense exercise would increase the release of insulin and thereby enhance glycogen synthesis in horses.

Animals—12 Standardbred horses.

Procedures—In a crossover study design, after glycogen-depleting exercise, horses received oral boluses of glucose (1 g/kg at 0, 2, and 4 hours) and leucine (0.1 g/kg at 0 and 4 hours) or boluses of water (10 mL/kg at 0, 2, and 4 hours; control treatment). Blood samples for determination of glucose, insulin, and leucine concentrations were collected prior to and during a 6-hour period immediately after exercise. Biopsy specimens of a gluteus muscle were obtained before and immediately after exercise and at 3, 6, and 24 hours after exercise for measurement of glycogen concentration.

Results—When glucose and leucine were administered to the horses, plasma insulin concentration was significantly higher during the 6 hours immediately after exercise than it was when water was administered to the horses. Serum glucose concentration during the 4 hours immediately after exercise was significantly higher when glucose and leucine were administered than the serum glucose concentration when water was administered. Muscle glycogen concentrations did not differ between the 2 treatments during the 24 hours after exercise.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Synthesis of muscle glycogen after intense intermittent exercise was not enhanced by oral boluses of glucose and leucine after exercise despite pronounced increases in plasma insulin and serum glucose concentrations.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Swedish-Norwegian Foundation for Equine Research.

The authors thank Dr. Ulf Emanuelsson for assistance with statistical analyses.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bröjer (johan.brojer@slu.se).