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  • Author or Editor: Jean Morisset x
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Objective—To measure concentrations and activities of major digestive enzymes in healthy equine pancreatic tissue.

Animals—7 adult horses with normal pancreatic tissues.

Procedures—Small pieces of pancreatic tissue were collected immediately after euthanasia, immersed in liquid nitrogen, and maintained at −80°C until analyzed. Concentrations and activities of amylase, lipase, chymotrypsin, trypsin, and elastase were determined by use of a microtiter technique. Relative pancreatic protein concentrations were determined by use of bovine serum albumin as the standard. Pancreatic DNA was extracted and con-centrations determined by use of the diphenylamine method with calf thymus DNA as the standard.

Results—The pancreatic cellular concentration of each enzyme, expressed as units per milligram of DNA, was consistent among horses. Cellular concentration of lipase (1,090.8 ± 285.3 U/mg of DNA) was highest, followed by amylase (59.5 ± 9.8 U/mg of DNA). Elastase, trypsin, and chymotrypsin were detected in small concentrations (1.9 ± 0.6, 3.5 ± 1.5, and 9.6 ± 2.9 U/mg of DNA, respectively). Similar results were obtained for specific activities of the enzymes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results were unexpected because, under natural conditions, the predominant energy source for horses is carbohydrate. These results may indicate, in part, the reason horses seem to tolerate large amounts of fat added to their diet.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research