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Objective—To test the hypothesis that glucose and insulin dynamics during endotoxemia differ between healthy horses and horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).

Animals—6 healthy adult mares and 6 horses with EMS.

Procedures—Each horse randomly received an IV infusion of lipopolysaccharide (20 ng/kg [in 60 mL of sterile saline {0.9% NaCl} solution]) or saline solution, followed by the other treatment after a 7-day washout period. Baseline insulin-modified frequently sampled IV glucose tolerance tests were performed 27 hours before and then repeated at 0.5 and 21 hours after infusion. Results were assessed via minimal model analysis and area under the curve values for plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations.

Results—Lipopolysaccharide infusion decreased insulin sensitivity and increased area under the serum insulin concentration curve (treatment × time) in both healthy and EMS-affected horses, compared with findings following saline solution administration. The magnitude of increase in area under the plasma glucose curve following LPS administration was greater for the EMS-affected horses than it was for the healthy horses. Horses with EMS that received LPS or saline solution infusions had decreased insulin sensitivity over time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Glucose and insulin responses to endotoxemia differed between healthy horses and horses with EMS, with greater loss of glycemic control in EMS-affected horses. Horses with EMS also had greater derangements in glucose and insulin homeostasis that were potentially stress induced. It may therefore be helpful to avoid exposure of these horses to stressful situations.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research