Effects of endotoxaemia and carbohydrate overload on glucose and insulin dynamics and the development of laminitis in horses

F. Tóth, N. Frank, K. A. Chameroy, R. C. Boston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Reasons for performing study: Insulin resistance (IR) is a risk factor for pasture-associated laminitis in equids and alimentary carbohydrate overload may trigger laminitis. Whether glucose metabolism responses to carbohydrate overload are more pronounced in insulin-resistant horses requires further study. Hypothesis: Horses pretreated with endotoxin to alter insulin sensitivity differ significantly in their glucose and insulin responses to carbohydrate overload. Methods: Horses (n = 24) were divided into 3 groups. A lipopolysaccharide (LPS; n = 8) group that received endotoxin as an 8 h 7.5 ng/kg bwt/h i.v. continuous rate infusion, an oligofructose (OF; n = 8) group that received an infusion of saline followed by 5 g/kg bwt OF via nasogastric intubation, and a LPS/OF (n = 8) group that received LPS followed 16 h later by OF. Glucose and insulin dynamics were evaluated at -24 h and 48 h using the frequently sampled i.v. glucose tolerance test and minimal model analysis. Physical examinations and haematology were performed and the severity of laminitis assessed. Results: Horses receiving LPS developed leucopenia and both LPS and OF induced clinical signs consistent with systemic inflammation. Insulin sensitivity significantly decreased (P<0.001) over time, but responses did not differ significantly among groups. Time (P<0.001) and treatment × time (P = 0.038) effects were detected for the acute insulin response to glucose, with mean values significantly increasing in LPS and LPS/OF groups, but not the OF group. Five horses in the LPS/OF group developed clinical laminitis compared with 0 and 2 horses in the LPS and OF groups, respectively. Conclusions: Endotoxaemia and carbohydrate overload reduce insulin sensitivity in horses. Endotoxin pretreatment does not affect the alterations in glucose metabolism induced by carbohydrate overload. Potential relevance: Insulin sensitivity decreases after carbohydrate overload in horses, which may be relevant to the development of pasture-associated laminitis. 2009 EVJ Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-858
Number of pages7
JournalEquine veterinary journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Endotoxin
  • Glucose
  • Horse
  • Insulin
  • Insulin resistance
  • Laminitis

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