The Effect of a 160-Kilometer Competitive Endurance Ride on Inflammatory Marker mRNA Expression in Horses

Allen Page, John C. Stewart, C. Langdon Fielding, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Previous work to evaluate various risk factors for failure to complete competitive endurance rides has examined clinicopathologic parameters, measurements of inflammation, and speed. Here, inflammatory markers were measured before, during, and after a long-distance, competitive endurance ride to examine the intraride dynamics of inflammatory marker expression and attempt to correlate those findings with whether a horse completed or failed to complete the ride. A total of 77 horses entered into the 2018 Tevis Cup Ride in California were enrolled in the study. Peripheral blood samples for mRNA isolation and gene expression analysis for ALOX5AP, CD14, IL-10, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MMP-1, TLR4, TNFα, and TNFSF13B were collected before, during (55 km and 110 km checkpoints), and after (160 km) the ride. No overall significant differences were found between groups of finishing and nonfinishing horses with regard to inflammatory marker expression. There were, however, time point–specific differences in mRNA expression, and, in some cases, these were group-specific. The overall pattern was a profound, initial increase in expression of inflammatory markers at the 55 km checkpoint. Some markers remained elevated beyond this point, whereas others began to decrease toward preride levels. While this work identified some similarities with previously published works, intraride sampling revealed additional changes in inflammatory marker expression. As such, investigators working with endurance horses should consider the addition of intraride sampling, when possible, to ensure that significant but short-lived changes in mRNA expression are not missed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Endurance
  • Exercise
  • Horse
  • Inflammation
  • mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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