Although high oxygen consumption in skeletal muscle may result in severe oxidative stress, there are no direct studies that have documented free radical production in horse muscles after intensive exercise. To find a new parameter indicating the muscle adaptation state for the training of Thoroughbred horses, we examined free radical formation in the muscle by using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). Ten male Thoroughbred horses received conventional training for 18 weeks. Before and after the training period, all horses performed an exhaustive incremental load exercise on a 6% incline treadmill. Muscle samples of the middle gluteal muscle were taken pre-exercise and 1 min, 1 hr, and 1 day after exercise. Muscle fiber type composition was also determined in the pre-exercise samples by immunohistochemical staining with monoclonal antibody to myosin heavy chain. We measured the free radical in the muscle homogenate using EPR at room temperature, and the amount was expressed as relative EPR signal intensity. There was a significant increase in Type IIA muscle fiber composition and a decrease in Type IIX fiber composition after the training period. Before the training period, the mean value of the relative EPR signal intensity showed a significant increase over the pre-exercise value at 1 min after the exercise and an incomplete recovery at 24 hr after the exercise. While no significant changes were found in the relative EPR signal intensity after the training period. There was a significant relationship between percentages of Type IIA fiber and change rates in EPR signal intensity at 1 min after exercise. The measurement of free radicals may be useful for determining the muscle adaptation state in the training of Thoroughbred horses.
Changes in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin, immunoreactive(ir)-inhibin, testosterone, estradiol-17β, and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I in Thoroughbred stallions along with changes in prolactin secretion in geldings were studied. The correlations of day-length with changes in the concentrations of these hormones were also studied. Five stallions and thirteen geldings were employed to draw blood samples in monthly basis and radioimmunoassay was performed to measure these hormones. All hormones showed a seasonal pattern, the levels being highest during the breeding season and lowest during the winter months. Most of the hormones were at their highest concentration during the month of April, the mid of spring in northern hemisphere. The concentration of circulating IGF-I also demonstrated seasonality, the peak lying on the month of April. The plasma concentration of prolactin also increased during the breeding season. This phenomenon was similar both in stallions and geldings although geldings had lower concentration than that of stallions. The changes in concentration of prolactin in stallions and geldings correlated more towards the day-length than towards the temperature. These results clearly indicate the seasonality of pituitary and gonadal hormones of Thoroughbred stallions, the activity being highest during the month of April and May of the breeding season.
Thoroughbred horses are seasonal mating animals, raised in northern regions or countries. Foals born yearly in spring generally show a typical seasonal compensatory growth pattern, in which their growth rate declines in the first winter and increases in the next spring. In this study, a new empirical adjustment approach is proposed to adjust for this compensatory growth when growth curve equations are estimated, by using 1,633 male body weights of Thoroughbreds as an illustrating example. Based on general Richards growth curve equation, a new growth curve equation was developed and fit to the weight-age data. The new growth curve equation had a sigmoid sub-function that can adjust the compensatory growth, combined with the Richards biological parameter responsible for the maturity of animals. The unknown parameters included in the equations were estimated by SAS NLMIXED procedure. The goodness of fit was examined by using Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC). The AIC values decreased from 13,053 (general Richards equation) to 12,794 (the newly developed equation), indicating the better fit of the new equation to the weight-age data. The shape of the growth curve was improved during the period of compensatory growth. The proposed method is one of the useful approaches for adjusting seasonal compensatory growth in growth curve estimations for Thoroughbreds, and for their management during the compensatory period. Based on this approach, the optimal growth curve equations can be estimated also for female body weight of Thoroughbreds or other growth traits affected by seasonal compensatory growth.