The Horse

FEB 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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40 TheHorse.com THE HORSE February 2018 Methylsulfonylmethane Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring organosulfur com- pound in the same family as dimethyl sulfoxide, more commonly known as DMSO. It is a white powder, whereas DMSO is liquid at room temperature. Mode of Action Little is known about MSM's mode of action, but scientists believe it plays a role in glutathione (an intracellular antioxidant critical in pre- venting cell damage) synthesis. Research At the University of Madrid, Spain, researchers evaluated 20 actively competing show jumpers to determine if oral MSM supplementation would al- leviate exercise-induced oxidative stress (Basically, this is what happens when the horse "burns" energy, and a few unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals, with an unpaired electron, are formed. The unpaired electron makes them quick to react with other molecules, damaging them and cell walls.). The results? Horses receiving MSM for seven days prior to competing showed fewer exercise-related indicators of oxidative stress and higher levels of the enzyme glutathione peroxi- dase, an antioxidant, in all blood plasma samples taken over the 35-day period. The team concluded that MSM could play an important protective role and, thus, increase performance in sport horses (Maranon et al., 2008). Hyaluronic Acid Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a GAG found in joint cartilage and the lubricating syno- vial (joint capsule) fluid. Mode of Action Hyaluronic acid is a major component of synovial fluid. In articular cartilage, hyaluronic acid coats each chondrocyte (cartilage cell), essentially giving it shock-absorbing properties. Research In a 2006 study Bergin et al. prescribed a 30-day postoperative treatment with an oral gel either with or without hyaluronan to 48 Thoroughbred yearlings that had undergone arthroscop- ic hock surgery to remove osteochondritis dissecans lesions. Yearlings receiving the HA treatment had less joint swelling than those receiving the gel without HA. In a recent in vitro study, veterinar- ians at The Ohio State University (OSU) cultured synovial cells with HA for 24 hours and challenged them with the pro-inflammatory agent lipopolysaccha- ride to stimulate an immune response. With the addition of HA, synovial cells appeared to be protected from the lipo- polysaccharide's negative effects: More of them lived, fewer were damaged, and inflammatory marker concentrations were lower (Kilborne et al., 2017). Resveratrol Resveratrol is a compound produced by plants, such as grapes, in response to injury or disease. Mode of Action Resveratrol has anti- oxidative, anti-apoptotic (prevents cell death), and anti-inflammatory effects in humans and other mammals. Research Researchers found that resve- ratrol prevented cartilage breakdown in laboratory animals with experimentally induced osteoarthritis. To test this in horses, scientists at Texas A&M Univer- sity evaluated a resveratrol supplement's effects on horses with naturally occurring hind-limb lameness localized to the lower hock joints. They found that horses con- suming the supplement for four months following intra-articular corticosteroid injections in the lower hock joints were significantly less lame, both objectively and subjectively, than horses consuming a placebo (Watts et al., 2016). Fish Oil Fish oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) derived from cold-water oily fish such as mackerel or herring. Mode of Action Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, have known anti-inflammatory properties and increase collagen synthesis. Research In research conducted at Colorado State University (CSU) in 2011, Trinette Jones, PhD, now assistant professor at Tarleton State University, in Texas, observed reduced gene expres- sion of the aggrecanase ADAMTS-4 eight hours after inducing synovitis (inflamma- tion of the synovial membrane) in horses receiving the omega-3 supplement. "Aggrecanases (enzymes that break down proteins) contribute to proteo- glycan loss in articular cartilage, and (their) activity has been shown to be elevated during OA in horses," Jones says. Therefore, reducing ADAMTS-4's activity during inflammation might help protect the joint cartilage, she says. These findings might also indicate that the supplement has chondroprotective properties in healthy joints with mild synovitis. However, "we only measured gene expression, not protein expression," says Jones. Further studies are needed NUTRITION Oral glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation might help reduce hock injection frequency. DUSTY PERIN

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