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Am J Vet Res. 2004 Nov;65(11):1463-8.

Effects of season and sample handling on measurement of plasma alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone concentrations in horses and ponies.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada C1A 4P3.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate effects of sample handling, storage, and collection time and season on plasma alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) concentration in healthy equids.

ANIMALS:

11 healthy Standardbreds and 13 healthy semiferal ponies.

PROCEDURE:

Plasma alpha-MSH concentration was measured by use of radioimmunoassay. Effects of delayed processing were accessed by comparing alpha-MSH concentrations in plasma immediately separated with that of plasma obtained from blood samples that were stored at 4 degrees C for 8 or 48 hours before plasma was separated. Effects of suboptimal handling were accessed by comparing alpha-MSH concentrations in plasma immediately stored at -80 degrees C with plasma that was stored at 25 degrees C for 24 hours, 4 degrees C for 48 hours or 7 days, and -20 degrees C for 30 days prior to freezing at -80 degrees C. Plasma alpha-MSH concentrations were compared among blood samples collected at 8:00 AM, 12 noon, and 4:00 PM. Plasma alpha-MSH concentrations were compared among blood samples collected in January, March, April, June, September, and November from horses and in September and May from ponies.

RESULTS:

Storage of blood samples at 4 degrees C for 48 hours before plasma was separated and storage of plasma samples at 4 degrees C for 7 days prior to freezing at -80 degrees C resulted in significant decreases in plasma alpha-MSH concentrations. A significantly greater plasma alpha-MSH concentration was found in September in ponies (11-fold) and horses (2-fold), compared with plasma alpha-MSH concentrations in spring.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Handling and storage conditions minimally affected plasma alpha-MSH concentrations. Seasonal variation in plasma alpha-MSH concentrations must be considered when evaluating pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction in equids.

PMID:
15566081
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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