The Effect of Exercise and Nutritional Supplementation on Proinflammatory Cytokine Expression in Young Racehorses During Training

David W. Horohov, Stephen T. Sinatra, Raj K. Chopra, Stanley Jankowitz, Alejandra Betancourt, Richard J. Bloomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The inflammatory response to vigorous exercise ranges from the mild symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness to debilitating injuries affecting soft tissue, joint, and bone. Although there is a great deal of information available on the inflammatory response to exercise in human athletes, less information is available regarding the inflammatory response to exercise in young horses undergoing training for racing careers. Here, we assessed the cytokine response to exercise in a group of young Thoroughbred racehorses during their initial training. Because there is interest in nonpharmacologic approaches to control or ameliorate exercise-induced inflammation, we also examined the anti-inflammatory effect of a nutritional supplement fed to half of the horses undergoing training. Twenty-five Thoroughbred horses aged 2 years were followed through their initial race training. Peripheral blood samples were collected at various times during the exercise for the quantitation of lactic acid, oxidative stress, and inflammatory cytokine gene expression. There was an intensity-dependent effect of exercise on lactate, malondialdehyde, and proinflammatory cytokine gene expression. Although training itself was associated with an overall reduction in inflammatory markers, horses receiving the supplement exhibited further reductions in their indicators of inflammation. As such, this study provides novel evidence of nutritional supplementation reducing postexercise inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-815
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The expertise of Coby Caiazzo at Murmur Farm in Darlington Maryland is gratefully acknowledged by the authors. The horses involved in this study were made available by Sinatra Racing. Partial funding for this study was provided by the W.R. Mills Endowment and Dr. Stephen Sinatra . The authors also appreciate the reviews and suggestions by Dr. Hemmi N. Bhagavan and Ken Hassen.


  • Adaptation
  • Exercise
  • Inflammation
  • Lactate
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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