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J Anim Sci. 1995 Dec;73(12):3696-704.

Feed deprivation of mares: plasma metabolite and hormonal concentrations and responses to exercise.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge 70803, USA.


Twelve light horse mares were fed a control diet that provided 100% of their maintenance protein and energy requirements for 7 d and were then either continued on the control diet or totally deprived of feed (with access to water) for 3 d . Plasma samples were drawn twice daily throughout the experiment, at 15-min intervals for 9 h beginning 45 h after feed removal, and at 10-min intervals around an exercise bout beginning 73 h after feed removal. Feed deprivation increased (P < or = .06) whole blood beta-hydroxybutyrate and plasma NEFA, urea N, L-lactate, and glucagon concentrations, decreased (P = .02) IGF-I concentrations, and did not change (P > .1) plasma glucose insulin, prolactin, triiodothyronine, and thyroxine concentrations. Exercise increased (P < .05) plasma NEFA, prolactin, and growth hormone (GH) concentrations in all mares. Plasma NEFA concentrations increased (P < .001) after exercise and remained increased in fed mares, but rapidly decreased in deprived mares (time x diet interaction, P = .006). Plasma glucose concentrations following exercise increased in deprived mares but decreased in fed mares (time x diet interaction, P = .07). The plasma prolactin response after exercise also differed between groups (P = .09). Feed-deprived mares had greater (P = .02) plasma GH concentrations before exercise (73 h after feed withdrawal) and had a greater (P < .001) GH peak at 10 min after initiation of exercise. The increase in secretion rate o GH due to feed deprivation in these mares was similar to that reported for other domestic species but was not nearly as great in magnitude.

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