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J Anim Sci. 2004 Aug;82(8):2321-8.

Development of a model for inducing transient insulin resistance in the mare: preliminary implications regarding the estrous cycle.

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Department of Veterinary Science, Maxwell Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546-0099, USA.


Peripheral insulin resistance is the failure of proper cellular glucose uptake in response to insulin. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are associated with several disease states in the horse and reproductive function disturbances in humans, including polycystic ovarian syndrome. To test the hypothesis that insulin resistance (IR) and hyperinsulinemia disrupt the estrous cycle in mares, two experiments were conducted to first develop a model to induce IR and to then examine the effect of this model on the duration of the estrous cycle. In Exp. 1, a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (HEC) procedure was performed on seven mares to determine insulin sensitivity before and immediately following infusion of a heparinized lipid solution. The HEC procedure was repeated 1 wk after lipid infusion. Mares developed IR following the lipid infusion (P < 0.05), and some individuals maintained IR for up to 1 wk. Mares also exhibited increased blood insulin both immediately following treatment and 1 wk later (P < 0.05). In Exp. 2, induction of insulin resistance by lipid solution was not accompanied by changes in circulating concentrations of luteinizing hormone, and duration of the luteal phase, compared with the duration of untreated luteal phases. Nonetheless, lipid infusion and the resultant insulin resistance were associated with an increased interovulatory period (P < 0.05), and peak concentrations of progesterone (P < 0.05) were higher during the treated vs. untreated luteal phases of the estrous cycle. The results from the preliminary study suggest that infusion of a lipid solution may induce transient insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The resulting insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia may modify characteristics of the estrous cycle, perhaps at the level of the ovary.

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