Metabolic Predictors of Equine Performance found in Endurance Racing

The metabolitic* signatures of Endurance horses could potentially be used to predict their performance in competition, according to researchers.

Alana Halama and her fellow researchers, reporting in the journal Metabolites, set out to characterize the metabolic consequences of endurance racing and to establish a metabolic performance profile for those animals. The study team monitored metabolite composition in blood plasma samples from 47 Arabian horses participating in endurance races. Samples were taken before and after races.

We found significant alterations between before and after the race in 417 molecules involved in lipids and amino acid metabolism,” the study team reported. Even before the race starts, we found metabolic differences between animals who completed the race and those who did not.”
“This study provides an in-depth characterization of metabolic alterations driven by endurance races in equines,” they concluded. “Furthermore, we showed the feasibility of identifying potential metabolic signatures as predictors of animal performance in endurance competition.”

Picture: Endurance race triggers global changes in equine metabolism.
(A) Overview on the experimental design.
(B) Pie chart reflective of the number of metabolites measured.
(C) The principal component analysis (PCA) of metabolites measured in equine plasma before and after the race.
(D) PCA loading plot shows contribution of different metabolic classes to the separation. Grey—before the race; Blue—after the race.

They said that although the identified metabolic signatures contributing to the prediction of race outcomes were only nominally significant, possibly due to the small sample size, they were distributed over the metabolic pathways identified as relevant for Endurance racing.

*Metabolic = “Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within us (or any living organism). Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances).
The term “metabolic” is often used to refer specifically to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy.” Source: Medicinenet

Source: MDPI

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