Energy endocrine physiology, pathophysiology, and nutrition of the foal

Hannah M. Kinsella Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

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 DVM, MS
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Laura D. Hostnik Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

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 DVM, MS, DACVIM
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Ramiro E. Toribio Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

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 DVM, PhD, DACVIM

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Abstract

Most homeostatic systems in the equine neonate should be functional during the transition from intra- to extrauterine life to ensure survival during this critical period. Endocrine maturation in the equine fetus occurs at different stages, with a majority taking place a few days prior to parturition and continuing after birth. Cortisol and thyroid hormones are good examples of endocrine and tissue interdependency. Cortisol promotes skeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, thyroid gland, adrenomedullary, and pancreatic differentiation. Thyroid hormones are essential for cardiovascular, respiratory, neurologic, skeletal, adrenal, and pancreatic function. Hormonal imbalances at crucial stages of development or in response to disease can be detrimental to the newborn foal. Other endocrine factors, including growth hormone, glucagon, catecholamines, ghrelin, adipokines (adiponectin, leptin), and incretins, are equally important in energy homeostasis. This review provides information specific to nutrition and endocrine systems involved in energy homeostasis in foals, enhancing our understanding of equine neonatal physiology and pathophysiology and our ability to interpret clinical and laboratory findings, therefore improving therapies and prognosis.

Abstract

Most homeostatic systems in the equine neonate should be functional during the transition from intra- to extrauterine life to ensure survival during this critical period. Endocrine maturation in the equine fetus occurs at different stages, with a majority taking place a few days prior to parturition and continuing after birth. Cortisol and thyroid hormones are good examples of endocrine and tissue interdependency. Cortisol promotes skeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, thyroid gland, adrenomedullary, and pancreatic differentiation. Thyroid hormones are essential for cardiovascular, respiratory, neurologic, skeletal, adrenal, and pancreatic function. Hormonal imbalances at crucial stages of development or in response to disease can be detrimental to the newborn foal. Other endocrine factors, including growth hormone, glucagon, catecholamines, ghrelin, adipokines (adiponectin, leptin), and incretins, are equally important in energy homeostasis. This review provides information specific to nutrition and endocrine systems involved in energy homeostasis in foals, enhancing our understanding of equine neonatal physiology and pathophysiology and our ability to interpret clinical and laboratory findings, therefore improving therapies and prognosis.

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