Sucrose concentration in blood: a new method for assessment of gastric permeability in horses with gastric ulceration.
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A urine sucrose test has recently been reported to be a reliable method of detecting gastric ulcers in horses; however, technical difficulties associated with urine collection have limited the practical value of the test. The objective of this pilot study was to determine whether gastric sucrose permeability, as evaluated by serum sucrose concentration, could be used to detect gastric mucosal injury in horses. Twelve adult horses with naturally acquired gastric ulceration were studied. After a 20-hour nonfeeding period, each horse was dosed with 250 g of sucrose via nasogastric intubation. Blood samples were collected at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90 minutes, and horses underwent gastroscopy 4 hours later. The severity of gastric ulceration in each horse was defined by means of a 4-point ulcer-scoring system, and the relationship with serum sucrose concentration was analyzed by means of a linear mixed-effects model. Serum sucrose concentration was measured by liquid chromatography operating in tandem with electrospray mass spectrometry. After nasogastric administration of table sugar, horses with moderate to severe gastric ulceration had significant increase in serum sucrose concentration at 30, 45, 60, and 90 minutes, relative to earlier times (P < .05). Peak sucrose concentration was observed at 45 minutes, and was correlated with ulcer severity (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient = 0.898, P < .05). These data indicate that determination of sucrose concentration in equine serum may be a useful test for identifying horses with endoscopically visible gastric ulceration and has potential use as a noninvasive method for screening and monitoring horses engaged in racing training and other performance-related disciplines.