Metabolic perturbations in Welsh Ponies with insulin dysregulation, obesity, and laminitis

Sarah I. Jacob, Kevin J. Murray, Aaron Rendahl, Raymond J. Geor, Nichol E. Schultz, Molly E McCue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Background: Metabolomics, the study of small-molecule metabolites, has increased understanding of human metabolic diseases, but has not been used to study equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). Objectives: (1) To examine the serum metabolome of Welsh Ponies with and without insulin dysregulation before and during an oral sugar test (OST). (2) To identify differences in metabolites in ponies with insulin dysregulation, obesity, or history of laminitis. Animals: Twenty Welsh Ponies (mean ± SD; 13.8 ± 9.0 years) classified as non-insulin dysregulated [CON] (n = 10, insulin < 30 mU/L) or insulin dysregulated [ID] (n = 10, insulin > 60 mU/L) at 75 minutes after administration of Karo syrup, obese (n = 6) or nonobese (n = 14), and history of laminitis (n = 9) or no history of laminitis (n = 11). Methods: Case-control study. Metabolomic analysis was performed on serum obtained at 0 minutes (baseline) and 75 minutes during the OST. Data were analyzed with multivariable mixed linear models with significance set at P ≤.05. Results: Metabolomic analysis of 646 metabolites (506 known) detected significant metabolite differences. At baseline, 55 metabolites (insulin response), 91 metabolites (obesity status), and 136 metabolites (laminitis history) were different. At 75 minutes, 51 metabolites (insulin response), 102 metabolites (obesity status), and 124 metabolites (laminitis history) were different. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Use of metabolomics could have diagnostic utility for early detection of EMS and provide new knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of metabolic perturbations associated with this condition that might lead to improved clinical management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1233
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • equine metabolic syndrome
  • horse
  • hyperinsulinemia
  • insulin resistance
  • metabolomics
  • oral sugar test

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