Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Potential Equine Insulin Dysregulation Therapeutic Studied

A “GIP” antagonist could provide an alternative way to combat metabolic disease in equids, researchers found.

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Potential Equine Insulin Dysregulation Therapeutic Studied
Researchers observed a decrease in the fecal microbial diversity in horses with EMS compared to metabolically normal horses. | Photo: iStock
What if the key to combating equine obesity and insulin dysregulation was simply a prescription from your veterinarian? That could be on the horizon with the help of research funded by the Australian Research Council.

In a recent study led by Melody de Laat, PhD, from Queensland University of Technology, in Australia, researchers sought to investigate three things:

  • The tissue distribution of equine glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptors (eGIPR)—receptors found mainly in gut that, when in the presence of glucose molecules, signals an increase in insulin secretion;
  • If a GIP antagonist could block eGIPR;
  • If a relationship exists between GIP concentration and obesity.

First, the researchers obtained pancreas samples from five healthy mixed-breed horses; they also gathered heart, kidney, lamellae, tongue, skeletal muscle, and duodenum (a part of the small intestine) samples from four healthy horses post-mortem in a previous study.

The team extracted tissue RNA from each sample and produced and sequenced a complementary DNA sample. This allowed them to determine specific gene expression in the various tissues. They confirmed eGIP gene expression in the heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, and duodenum; found very small amounts of eGIP expression in the lamellae and tongue; and observed no evidence of eGIP gene expression in the skeletal

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Kristen M. Janicki, a lifelong horsewoman, was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky, studying under Dr. Laurie Lawrence in the area of Equine Nutrition. Kristen has been a performance horse nutritionist for an industry feed manufacturer for more than a decade. Her job entails evaluating and improving the performance of the sport horse through proper nutrition.

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