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Friday, July 01, 2011

Laminitis Research: Australian Breakthrough on Insulin Function in Equine Foot

(Text published as provided)

Researchers funded by the US-based Animal Health Foundation announced June 15, 2011, that they have made a major breakthrough in understanding how the insulin form of laminitis occurs.

Drs. Melody de Laat and Chris Pollitt of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit at the University of Queensland have discovered that receptors designed to receive insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) may be binding to insulin instead if horses have high levels of insulin.

This groundbreaking discovery may enable scientists to develop strategies to try to block IGF-1 receptors from receiving insulin and prevent the disease from occurring.

The receptor also has been shown to be responsible for the metastatis of malignant tumors in humans, and drugs currently are being developed to block the receptor. These drugs may be of use in trying to treat horses that are prone to laminitis from developing high levels of insulin.

Insulin is important in regulating the blood glucose within animals, but horses that have Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Cushing’s disease often have very high levels of insulin.

Pollitt and his team, funded by AHF since 1995, previously showed that high insulin is one of the major pathways that causes laminitis, but, to this point, they had not understood how.

The equine foot is very dependent on glucose for metabolism, but it is not dependent on insulin to deliver that glucose. Horses have a large number of IGF-1 receptors in their feet, but no insulin receptors. Pollitt’s team now theorizes that these IGF-1 receptors are being stimulated by insulin that mimics insulin-like growth factor 1 and is binding to these receptors.

When this happens, the laminar epitheleal cells start to proliferate. Normally these cells in the middle of the foot don’t multiply. The cells are made at the coronary band and migrate all the way down to the sole without multiplying.

This type of proliferation causes the laminae to stretch and lengthen and the weight of the horse to ruin the bond between the external hoof wall and the bone. The bone changes position, and laminitis occurs.

“We’re starting to understand the pathway of how insulin really causes laminitis,” said Dr. Don Walsh, president of the Animal Health Foundation.

Journey from coffin bone to periople in a colorful detailed super-microscopic image! Click to order!

 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.  
 
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4 comments:

gnttcstr said...

hi fran, it's your pal, ginette! very interesting new research and insulin resistance and laminitis. good to know that we are learning more and more about this.

Andrea said...

Hey Fran, can I link this blog post to my website on the articles page? Let me know, thanks :)

Andrea said...

Hey Fran, can I link this blog post to my website on the articles page? Let me know, thanks :)

Fran Jurga said...

Hi Andrea, sure you can. Do you need help doing that? Just let me know.