Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on circulating concentrations and mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines in horses

Schauermann, Nicolette Lee, author
Hess, Tanja, advisor
Han, Hyungchul, advisor
Hussey, Gisela, committee member
Engle, Terry E., committee member
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Colorado State University. Libraries
Introduction: Studies in horses have shown an association between increased levels of the inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory conditions. Ingestion of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can produce inflammatory mediators with the potential to down regulate the production of cytokines. Methods: Twenty one mares were blocked by age, body weight and body condition score and randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatment supplements. Treatments consisted of: 1) fish oil supplement and diet (FISH; Magnitude™); 2) flaxseed supplement and diet (FLAX; Nutra-Flax™); and 3) control diet (CON). Horses were supplemented for 12 weeks. Serum and white blood cells were collected on weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12 and assayed for TNFα protein concentrations and IL-1, IL-6, IL-10, and TNFα mRNA expression. Data was log transformed for normalization and analyzed by ANOVA. Significant differences (P<0.05) were compared by least square means analysis. Results: Statistical analysis of mRNA expression was not completed because of failure to produce consistent, reliable results from white blood cell samples. The serum analysis revealed no treatment effects, however FISH treated horses had a trend for lower TNFα than FLAX during week 4 (P=0.1202). Both the FISH and CON groups showed an increase between week 4 and 8 and a decrease between week 8 and 12 (P<0.035). The Flax group only showed a significant change between week 8 and 12 which was similar to the other treatments (P<0.040). Discussion: For more consistent results, a standard amount of whole blood should be used for mRNA expression analysis and include a RNA quality check procedure after RNA isolation. Results indicate that supplementation is not effective in altering TNFα concentrations in adult, healthy mares. The effect of n-3 PUFA may only be evident when inflammatory challenges are present as shown in previous studies of horses prone to laminitis, suffering from arthritis or stimulated with lipopolysaccharides.
Department Head: William R. Wailes.
2010 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 74-79).