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Insulin and incretin responses to grazing in insulin‐dysregulated and healthy ponies

Fitzgerald, Danielle M., Walsh, Donald M., Sillence, Martin N., Pollitt, Christopher C., de Laat, Melody A.
Journal of veterinary internal medicine 2019 v.33 no.1 pp. 225-232
blood sampling, case-control studies, diet, glucagon-like peptide 1, glucose, grazing, horses, insulin, secretin
BACKGROUND: Supraphysiological insulin and incretin responses to a cereal‐based diet have been described in horses and ponies with insulin dysregulation (ID). However, the hormonal responses to grazing have not yet been described. OBJECTIVES: To determine if there is a difference in the insulin and incretin responses to grazing pasture between insulin‐dysregulated and healthy ponies. ANIMALS: A cohort of 16 ponies comprising 5 with normal insulin regulation (NIR), 6 with moderate ID (MID), and 5 with severe ID (SID). METHODS: In this case‐control study, an oral glucose test (OGT) was used to determine the insulin responsiveness of each pony to PO carbohydrate before grazing pasture (4 hours) for 3 consecutive days. Serial blood samples collected during grazing were analyzed for glucose, insulin, glucose‐dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) and active glucagon‐like peptide‐1 (aGLP‐1), and compared among pony groups and day of pasture access. RESULTS: The area under the insulin curve when grazing increased with ID severity (P < .03). The median (range) maximal insulin concentration was greater in the MID (72.5 [129] μIU/mL) and SID (255 [338.5] μIU/mL) groups, compared to the NIR (11.7 [24.9] μIU/mL) group (P < .03) and occurred within 2‐4 hours of grazing. Postprandial OGT insulin concentration was positively correlated with 2 hours post‐grazing insulin across all 3 grazing days (P ≤ .03). The aGLP‐1 and GIP concentrations increased in response to grazing but did not differ among groups. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Grazing pasture provoked an increased insulin and incretin response in insulin‐dysregulated ponies within 4 hours of grazing. The pasture and OGT insulin concentrations were correlated.