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Equine Metabolic Syndrome Research Review

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Researchers from the University of Minnesota and University of Michigan Colleges of Veterinary Medicine collaborated to create a review of equine metabolic syndrome. “In this review, we will summarize the understanding of the EMS phenotype and propose a complex disease model that may help explain the variability in EMS,” noted the authors

The article, “Equine Metabolic Syndrome: a complex disease influenced by genetics and the environment,” was published online by the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science and is available for purchase.

Abstract

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) refers to a cluster of clinical abnormalities including insulin resistance, generalized obesity and/or increased adiposity in specific locations (regional adiposity) associated with an increased risk of laminitis. However, descriptions of the metabolic phenotype of laminitis-prone horses and ponies have varied among published studies. The metabolic phenotypes routinely measured (e.g. insulin, insulin responses, adipokines, adiposity, etc.) are highly influenced by the environment, and vary due to physiologic factors such as age, breed and sex, even in normal individuals. Further, not all components of the syndrome (e.g. obesity) may be present in individuals with underlying metabolic derangements. The complexity of the ‘EMS’ phenotype has lead to an on-going debate as to the canonical features that define the syndrome. Further, little is understood about its pathophysiology. A better understanding of EMS requires a clearer phenotypic definition of EMS; a better grasp of the effects of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence metabolic measures; and an appreciation of the complex interactions between the phenotypic components of the syndrome and the proposed risk factors. In this review, we will summarize the understanding of the EMS phenotype and propose a complex disease model that may help explain the variability in EMS.

Authors

Molly E. McCue, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM (LAIM), and Nichol Shcultz, DVM, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota; and Raymond J. Geor, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM (LAIM), DACVSMR, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University.