Objective—To characterize adiponectin protein complexes in lean and obese horses.
Animals—26 lean horses and 18 obese horses.
Procedures—Body condition score (BCS) and serum insulin activity were measured for each horse. Denaturing and native western blot analyses were used to evaluate adiponectin complexes in serum. A human ELISA kit was validated and used to quantify high–molecular weight (HMW) complexes. Correlations between variables were made, and HMW values were compared between groups.
Results—Adiponectin was present as a multimer consisting of HMW (> 720-kDa), low-molecular weight (180-kDa), and trimeric (90-kDa) complexes in serum. All complexes were qualitatively reduced in obese horses versus lean horses, but the percentage of complexes < 250 kDa was higher in obese versus lean horses. High–molecular weight adiponectin concentration measured via ELISA was negatively correlated with serum insulin activity and BCS and was lower in obese horses (mean ± SD, 3.6 ± 3.9 μg/mL), compared with lean horses (8.0 ± 4.6 μg/mL).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—HMW adiponectin is measurable via ELISA, and concentration is negatively correlated with BCS and serum insulin activity in horses. A greater understanding of the role of adiponectin in equine metabolism will provide insight into the pathophysiology of metabolic disease conditions.