G.H. Cook Abstract: Detection of Metabolic Markers in Young Horses Affected with Osteochondrosis Dissecans
Katharine Ziegler

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) is a common developmental orthopedic problem in horses. It is due to a disturbance in endochondral ossification that results in defects in the cartilage of joint surfaces. Nutritional imbalances, exercise and genetic predisposition linked to insulin sensitivity all have been implicated as potential causes with no clear definition of the underlying metabolic causes. Metabonomic analysis of Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of serum taken from 20 pairs of closely related, yearling Standardbred horses, one of each pair had had hock OCD lesions surgically corrected (OCD), the other had no radiographic evidence of lesions (Control), showed a difference (P<0.05) between the metabolite profiles of OCD and Control horses. All horses had had the same nutrition regime, exercise, management and environment since birth. The hypothesis is that the differences seen initially will be repeatable and correlated with alterations in glucose/insulin metabolism. In this study serum, plasma and white blood cells were collected from 40 matched pairs of yearling Standardbreds from the same farm as the preliminary study under the same conditions as before. Serum samples will be analyzed by NMR spectroscopy with the resultant spectra subjected to metabonomic analyses using principle component analyses to determine metabolic differences between the two groups of horses and spectra from the preliminary study. White blood cells were submitted for genomic analysis to look for potential hereditary indicators of the differing metabonomic profiles. Resting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations did not differ between the two groups. By confirming consistent differences in a larger number of horses, and discovering what pathways have been affected based on the results, we may be able to identify foals at risk before lesions develop and devise preventative nutritional treatments for OCD.

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