Laminitis is a crippling and common condition of horses. Exciting work by CSU researchers and others has associated this condition with high blood insulin concentrations and insulin resistance. This study will involve comparison of the insulin response to glucose challenges in insulin-resistant and 'normal' ponies.
This Honours project will assess the roles of adiponectin and leptin in the regulation of insulin sensitivity and the development of insulin resistance. Mildly overweight ponies will be tested. Insulin sensitivity will be correlated with plasma adiponectin and leptin concentrations, before and after treatment to enhance insulin sensitivity, whilst Equine Cushing's Syndrome will be excluded. This research will complement another larger research project, with the initial aim of identifying insulin-resistant but non-Cushingoid ponies, in order to assess pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical insulin-sensitizing agents.
Research work by Dr Stephanie Knott has associated demeanour, temperament and growth rate with endocrine response to stress in sheep. Having observed variation in foal response to handling, we hypothesise that this may similarly be associated with variation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to sheep. This study will evaluate the association between foal temperament and cortisol response in foals.
Previous studies in this laboratory have demonstrated a potential association between the administration of exogenous corticosteroids and serum insulin concentration in horses. Using stored samples, this project will evaluate the effect of administration of a number of different corticosteroid medications on circulating insulin concentrations.
A number of 'in house' systems are available for rapid evaluation of biochemical parameters in patient blood at the point of care. Whilst these systems provide rapid turn around, their accuracy has not been critically evaluated. This project will compare various 'bench top' serum biochemistry analysers with state-of-the-art, commercial laboratory evaluation (Konelab Clinical Chemistry Analyser) using serum samples from healthy and diseased horses.