Effects of equine metabolic syndrome on inflammation and acute-phase markers in horses

A. Zak, N. Siwinska, S. Elzinga, V. D. Barker, T. Stefaniak, B. J. Schanbacher, N. J. Place, A. Niedzwiedz, A. A. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Obesity and metabolic disorders are associated with systemic low-grade chronic inflammation, both in humans and animals. The aim of the study is to assess the effects of obesity and hyperinsulinemia on individual components of the acute-phase reaction in equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) horses. Eight mixed-breed EMS and six control, age-matched horses of both sexes were included in the study. Animals were classified as EMS or control based on the assessment of BCS, cresty neck score, and basal insulin >50 μU/mL and/or insulin responses to the oral sugar test (OST) >60 μU/mL. Peripheral venous blood was collected. The expression of proinflammatory cytokines, the concentration of circulating cytokines, and acute-phase proteins (serum amyloid A, C-reactive protein, haptoglobin, activin A, and procalcitonin) were measured. The data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney test, whereas correlations were examined using Spearman's correlation coefficient. The tests were statistically significant if P ≤ 0.05. There were no differences in cytokine gene expression, circulating cytokine concentrations, or concentrations of acute-phase proteins between the EMS and the control groups. There was a strong correlation between the basal concentration of insulin and the serum concentrations of IL-6 (r = 0.71, P < 0.05). Activin A was positively correlated with post-OST insulin concentrations (r = 0.707, P = 0.05), indicating that this marker of inflammation could warrant further investigation in horses with EMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106448
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s)


  • Activin A
  • Acute-phase proteins
  • IL-6
  • Insulin dysregulation
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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