Blood concentrations of insulin and glucose can reflect endocrine abnormalities such as pituitary dysfunction and polysaccharide storage myopathies, especially if measured after a standardized challenge. Blood glucose and insulin concentrations in horses, however, are influenced by a myriad of factors. A single blood sample taken without consideration of these factors is virtually useless as a diagnostic tool. Length of fasts prior to glucose challenges tests, time since feeding, diurnal variations in cortisol, feed type, excitement or stress, reproductive status, illness, genetics, and obesity all affect blood glucose and insulin concentrations. This article discusses factors that influence glucose and insulin metabolism with respect to the impact they may have on the interpretation of standardized test results.</P><h5>Normal glucose and insulin metabolism in horses</h5> <h5>Glucose</h5> Fasting blood glucose concentrations in horses are usually between 60 and 90 mg/dL. These concentrations are maintained by gluconeogenesis, primarily in the liver, and are regulated by glucagon, cortisol, and other counter-regulatory hormones  . Counter-regulatory responses of corticotropin-releasing hormone, vasopressin, and adrenocorticotropin to an insulin challenge are similar to those reported in humans and increase the rate of glucose synthesis if the glucose concentration starts to decrease [2,3] . Critical blood glucose concentrations for the
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2002
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