Six Standardbred mares (age 12±2 years, body weight 502±63 kg; mean ± standard deviation) were given 1.6 μg/kg acylated human ghrelin or vehicle treatment as an intravenous bolus in a randomised, cross-over design to test the hypothesis that exogenous ghrelin infusion would increase feed intake and alter metabolic parameters of energy homeostasis, leptin, glucose, insulin and cortisol. After the horses had initial access to hay cubes for 1.5 h, doses were given and hay cubes were available once again. Leftover feed was weighed 6 times over each of the 24 h testing periods. Blood samples for measurement of active ghrelin, growth hormone, leptin, glucose, insulin and cortisol were taken at time 0 (immediately before infusion) and 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 240, 480, and 720 min post-infusion. Every 10 min, the horses' behaviour was recorded for eating, drinking, resting, and other behaviours. Ghrelin infusion did not increase (P>0.05) feed intake in the mares as a group, but did increase feed intake (P<0.04) in horses that had the highest growth hormone response to ghrelin infusion. Plasma concentrations of active ghrelin growth hormone, glucose, insulin and cortisol were all increased (P<0.05) by ghrelin infusion. There was no significant change in plasma leptin concentration due to treatment. Ghrelin infusion did not cause a significant change in the number of eating episodes either 2 h post-treatment or for the 24 h testing period. Regression analysis suggests that the increase in feed intake in horses with the highest growth hormone response to ghrelin infusion may be due to their lower (P<0.05) body condition score and % body fat compared with horses that did not increase feed intake and had lower growth hormone response to ghrelin infusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Physiology (medical)
- Feed intake
- Growth hormone