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Evaluation of plasma ACTH, α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone, and insulin concentrations during various photoperiods in clinically normal horses and ponies and those with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction

Jill BeechDepartment of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Raymond C. BostonDepartment of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Dianne McFarlaneDepartment of Physiological Sciences, Center of Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Sue LindborgDepartment of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

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Abstract

Objective—To measure plasma ACTH, D-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (D-MSH), and insulin concentrations during various photoperiods between February and October in horses and ponies with and without pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID).

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—13 clinically normal (control) ponies, 14 clinically normal (control) horses, 7 ponies with PPID, and 8 horses with PPID.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from February through October during 8 photoperiods: 1, February 13 through March 2; 2, April 4 through 6; 3, June 19 through 22; 4, August 6 through 7; 5, August 14 through 17; 6, September 4 through 6; 7, September 26 through 28; and 8, October 16 through 18. Plasma ACTH, D-MSH, and insulin concentrations at each photoperiod were compared among groups.

Results—Log ACTH concentration was increased during photoperiod 4 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1 through 3, in all groups. In photoperiod 3 through 7, log ACTH concentrations were higher in horses and ponies with PPID, compared with values for control horses and ponies. D-Melanocyte–stimulating hormone (log and raw value) concentration was higher in photoperiod 2 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1, in control horses and ponies. In horses and ponies with PPID, log D-MSH concentration was higher in photoperiod 3 through 8, and D-MSH concentration was higher in photoperiod 4 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1. In control horses and ponies, plasma insulin concentration was lower in photoperiod 3 than in photoperiod 1.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Plasma D-MSH and ACTH concentrations increased as daylight decreased from summer solstice (maximum daylight hours) to 12 hours of daylight.

Abstract

Objective—To measure plasma ACTH, D-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (D-MSH), and insulin concentrations during various photoperiods between February and October in horses and ponies with and without pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID).

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—13 clinically normal (control) ponies, 14 clinically normal (control) horses, 7 ponies with PPID, and 8 horses with PPID.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from February through October during 8 photoperiods: 1, February 13 through March 2; 2, April 4 through 6; 3, June 19 through 22; 4, August 6 through 7; 5, August 14 through 17; 6, September 4 through 6; 7, September 26 through 28; and 8, October 16 through 18. Plasma ACTH, D-MSH, and insulin concentrations at each photoperiod were compared among groups.

Results—Log ACTH concentration was increased during photoperiod 4 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1 through 3, in all groups. In photoperiod 3 through 7, log ACTH concentrations were higher in horses and ponies with PPID, compared with values for control horses and ponies. D-Melanocyte–stimulating hormone (log and raw value) concentration was higher in photoperiod 2 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1, in control horses and ponies. In horses and ponies with PPID, log D-MSH concentration was higher in photoperiod 3 through 8, and D-MSH concentration was higher in photoperiod 4 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1. In control horses and ponies, plasma insulin concentration was lower in photoperiod 3 than in photoperiod 1.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Plasma D-MSH and ACTH concentrations increased as daylight decreased from summer solstice (maximum daylight hours) to 12 hours of daylight.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation and by Ms. M. Gardiner.

The authors thank Stephen Lamb and Dr. Barbara Schanbacher for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Beech.