Effect of triheptanoin on muscle metabolism during submaximal exercise in horses

Molly E. McCue, Stephanie J. Valberg, Joe D. Pagan, Birgitta Essén-Gustavsson, Charles R. Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective - To compare effects of corn oil or a 7-carbon fat (triheptanoin) on acylcarnitine, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism in plasma or muscle of exercising horses. Animals - 8 Thoroughbred geldings. Procedures - Horses received isocaloric diets containing 650 mL of oil (triheptanoin or corn oil)/d for 18 or 25 days in a crossover design with a 26-day washout period. On day 17 or 24 of each feeding period, the respective oil (217 mL) was nasogastrically administered; 120 minutes later, horses performed a 90-minute submaximal exercise test (SET). Blood and muscle samples were obtained before oil administration and immediately before (blood only), during (blood only), immediately after, and 24 hours after SETs. Results - Compared with values before oil administration, triheptanoin administration increased plasma insulin and C7:0-, C5:0- and C3:0-acylcarnitine concentrations, whereas corn oil administration increased plasma NEFA concentrations. During SETs, plasma C7:0-, C5:0-, and C3:0-acylcarnitine concentrations were higher when triheptanoin, rather than corn oil, was administered to horses. Plasma glucose, NEFA, and C2:0-, C18:1-, and C18:2-acylcarnitine concentrations increased during SETs similarly for both oils. Respiratory quotient and muscle lactate, citrate, malate, glycogen, and ATP concentrations changed similarly from before to after SETs for both oils. Compared with muscle concentrations immediately after SETs, those for glucose-6-phosphate and citrate 24 hours after SETs were lower and for glycogen were similar to values before SETs. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Fatigue was not associated with depletion of citric acid cycle intermediates for either oil. Triheptanoin induced a significantly higher insulin secretion and did not appear to enhance muscle glycogen repletion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1052
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of veterinary research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


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