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Objective—To evaluate changes in serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) concentrations in response to exercise in horses.
Animals—15 horses in experiment 1 and 27 horses in experiment 2.
Procedures—In experiment 1, 15 Thoroughbreds free of orthopedic disease underwent a standardized exercise protocol. Running velocity and heart rate (HR) were recorded, and blood samples were collected immediately before (baseline) and 1, 5, and 24 hours after a single episode of exercise. In experiment 2, 27 horses underwent 9 stages of a training program in which each stage consisted of 4 to 8 consecutive daily workouts followed by a rest day. Blood samples were collected immediately before the first and final daily workouts in each stage. Serum COMP concentrations were measured via inhibition ELISA with a monoclonal antibody (14G4) against equine COMP.
Results—In experiment 1, mean serum COMP concentration was significantly higher than baseline 1 and 5 hours after exercise and returned to baseline concentrations 24 hours after exercise. Mean serum baseline COMP concentration increased as the velocity of running at maximum HR and at an HR of 200 beats/min increased, being significantly higher during the third and fourth exercise tests than during the first. In experiment 2, mean baseline COMP concentration at the final workout of each stage was significantly higher than that at the first workout, beginning with stage 3.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serum COMP concentrations changed significantly in response to exercise. Exercise may enhance movement of COMP into the circulation as well as change the basal turnover rate of COMP.