Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid–Rich Microalgae Supplementation on Metabolic and Inflammatory Parameters in Horses With Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Sarah E. Elzinga, Alejandra Betancourt, John C. Stewart, Melissa H. Altman, Virginia D. Barker, Mason Muholland, Simon Bailey, Kristen M. Brennan, Amanda A. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Much of the equine population is obese and therefore predisposed to the development of additional health concerns such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). However, pharmacologic treatments for EMS are limited. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is a therapeutic strategy in humans with metabolic dysfunction that improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation, but the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in horses with EMS are unclear. Therefore, in this pilot study, 10 mixed-sex and mixed-breed horses with EMS were fed a docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich microalgae containing 16 g DHA/horse/d or served as controls for 46 days. Inflammatory status was measured using serologic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) using flow cytometry and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Circulating fatty acids, triglyceride, leptin, and adiponectin concentrations were also determined. Insulin and glucose dynamics were assessed with oral sugar test (OST) and frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance testing. Postsupplementation, treated horses had an increase in many circulating fatty acids, including DHA (P < .001). Treated horses also had lower serum triglycerides postsupplementation (P = .02) and a trend (P = .07) for reduced PBMC tumor necrosis factor α. Interestingly, after 46 days, control horses had an increase in insulin responses to the OST (P = .01), whereas treated horses did not (P = .69). These pilot data indicate that DHA-rich microalgae supplementation alters circulating fatty acids, modulates metabolic parameters, and may reduce inflammation in horses with EMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102811
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Algae
  • Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS)
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine

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