This study tested the hypothesis that old and young mares exhibit different endocrine responses to a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT) and different cytokine profiles in blood, adipose and muscle tissues. It was also hypothesised that exercise training alters endocrine and tissue cytokine profiles. Pilot data from 15 mixed background horses indicated tissue differences in cytokine profiles. For the main study, six old (22.0±0.7 years) and six young (7.3±0.6 years; mean±SE) unfit Standardbred mares were tested pre- and post-training. Exercise training occurred three days/week for 15 weeks at ~60% maximum heart rate. Plasma insulin and glucose concentrations were measured via radioimmunoassay and enzyme-electrode interface, respectively. Samples of blood, middle gluteal muscle (RM), and subcutaneous adipose tissue from the neck (NF) were collected pre- and post-training for mRNA quantification. Minimal model analysis of FSIGT, repeated measures ANOVA and Pearson Product Moment were used to analyse data. The null hypothesis was rejected when P≤0.10. Post-training, old and young mares improved insulin sensitivity (SI) (P=0.08, P=0.01, respectively) and disposition index (P=0.04, P < 0.001, respectively), but acute insulin response to glucose increased in young mares only (P=0.02). Old mares exhibited lower (P=0.06) average relative quantity (RQ) of tumour necrosis factor-alpha in NF compared to RM. Old mares showed greater RQ of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in NF compared to young (P=0.08). A negative correlation was observed between SI and IL-6 in NF post-training (P=0.07, R=-0.54), and a positive correlation occurred between SI and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in NF post-training (P=0.08, R=0.53). Exercise training improved pancreatic beta cell function and insulin sensitivity in old and young horses. Cytokines associated with glucose metabolism may have varied roles in different tissues.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Physiology (medical)