Effect of bioactive proteins on gait kinematics and systemic inflammatory markers in mature horses.
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Twenty-seven mature Quarter horses were used in a randomized design to determine the effects of bioactive protein supplementation on gait kinematics and systemic inflammatory markers in a 34-d trial. Treatments consisted of oral doses of 230 g/d of pelleted supplements containing 0 g (CON; n = 9), 40 g of bioactive protein (40BP; n = 9; LIFELINE, APC, LLC, Ankeny, IA), and 80 g of bioactive protein (80BP; n = 9) daily. Horses were fed a commercial concentrate at 0.5% BW (as-fed) and received ad libitum coastal bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) hay daily. On day 33, horses consistent in exercise (CON, n = 6; 40BP, n = 8; 80BP, n = 7) participated in a trailering and riding challenge. Kinematic gait analysis was performed on day 0 for use as a covariate, and on day 14, 28, and 34 to allow for the determination of potential time and dosage effects. Video footage was collected and analyzed using gait analysis software (EquineTec, Monroe, GA) for the determination of stride length (SL) and range of motion (ROM). Blood was collected via jugular venipuncture on days 0, 14, 28, and 34 for determination of systemic expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- and IL-1. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS. A trend towards treatment time interaction was observed in ROM of the knee at the walk (P = 0.10), due to the increasing ROM for 40BP and 80BP as time increased and decreasing ROM for CON. A treatment time interaction was observed (P < 0.01) for hock ROM at a walk resulting from CON and 80BP decreasing from day 14 to 28 with 40BP increasing, while from day 28 to 34 ROM at a walk decreased for 40BP and increased for 80BP. The main effect of treatment on hock ROM at the walk was quadratic (P < 0.01) and characterized by higher ROM values for 40BP compared to CON or 80BP. Dietary treatment lengthened (P = 0.04) SL of the hind limb at the walk for 40BP and 80BP compared to CON on both days 14 and 28. A significant treatment time interaction was observed in the expression of IL-1 (P < 0.01) and can be explained by lower concentrations of IL-1 for 80BP on day 34 compared to the other treatments, with 40BP being intermediate and CON being the highest. Increased articular ROM with decreased expression of IL-1 may indicate potential anti-inflammatory effects of 80 g/d of bioactive proteins.