Research update: Prostaglandin E2

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Farm Forum

Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a molecule in the body that plays a significant role in inflammation. Levels of PGE2 have been shown to increase in response to the progression of joint disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are molecules that have been shown to mitigate inflammation, including in horses that have been previously diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

Researchers at Sam Houston State University examined the effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on PGE2 production in young horses under training. Thirteen 2 and 3 year old horses were fed a standard diet plus fish oil. Exercise consisted of two phases; phase 1 which consisted of groundwork and early training under saddle and phase 2 which consisted of advanced maneuvers and moderate workload. Bodyweight, body condition score (BCS) and rump fat measurements were recorded every 21 days. Blood samples were also taken to determine PGE2 levels.

Dietary treatment did not influence bodyweight, BCS or rump fat. Prostaglandin E2 plasma concentrations increased over time as exercise intensity and duration increased. No differences in PGE2 levels between treatments was found on day 0; however on days 35 and 63, treatment horses had lower PGE2 levels compared to control horses. Researchers concluded that there is a potential use of dietary omega-3 supplementation to mitigate inflammation in young horses in an exercise program.