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  • Author or Editor: Robert L. Donnell x
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Objective—To test the hypothesis that inflammatory responses to endotoxemia differ between healthy horses and horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).

Animals—6 healthy horses 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 data were obtained 30 minutes before each infusion. After infusion, a physical examination was performed hourly for 9 hours and at 15 and 21 hours; a whole blood sample was collected at 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes for assessment of inflammatory cytokine gene expression. Liver biopsy was performed between 240 and 360 minutes after infusion.

Results—Following lipopolysaccharide infusion in healthy horses and horses with EMS, mean rectal temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate increased, compared with baseline findings, as did whole blood gene expression of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-α. The magnitude of blood cytokine responses did not differ between groups, but increased expression of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-α persisted for longer periods in EMS-affected horses. Lipopolysaccharide infusion increased liver tissue gene expressions of IL-6 in healthy horses and IL-8 in both healthy and EMS-affected horses, but these gene expressions did not differ between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results supported the hypothesis that EMS affects horses’ inflammatory responses to endotoxin by prolonging cytokine expression in circulating leukocytes. These findings are relevant to the association between obesity and laminitis in horses with EMS.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research