Acute exercises stress modulates immune function in unfit horses

Tammie L. Keadle, Susan S. Pourciau, Patricia A. Melrose, Steven G. Kammerling, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Since exercise stress is associated with multiple changes in immune parameters, we evaluated the effect of acute exercise on 3 indices of immune function in the horse. Six unconditioned thoroughbred horses were subjected to a tread- mill-based exercise challenge. Exerci se intensity was determined by monitoring each horse's heart rate, plasma lactate, and cortisol levels. Concurrently, peripheral blood mono- nuclear cells were used to assess pokeweed mitogen (PWM) -induced blastogenesis, influenza-specific proliferation, and lymphokine activated killer (LAK) cell activity. Heart rate peaked during the gallop on an incline while lactate was highest at the end of the stress test (To) with values of 200 bpm and 9 mM/L respectively. Average plasma cortisol was great- est at TO and T+2o with values 76% higher than unstressed horses. Significantly (P<.05) lower PWM and influenza- associated proliferation of cells collected at TO and T,2o were observed. These results illustrate the complexity of changes in immune function that accompany intense exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-231
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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