This study was designed to compare the effects of a fat-supplemented diet versus a traditional diet on the lipoprotein (LP) content in horses. In the first of two trials, eight two-year old horses were fed a basal diet, in which 80% of the digestible energy was supplied as chopped alfalfa hay. One group of four horses (fat-supplemented group, FS) was fed the remaining 20% of the digestible energy as corn oil, while the other group of four horses (control) was fed rolled corn to complete their diet. Blood samples were collected at the start of the experiment and every 2.5 weeks thereafter for 10 weeks. Total serum lipids were measured in both groups of horses and the lipoproteins were fractionated into very low density LP (VLDL), low density LP (LDL), and high density LP (HDL) using ultraceatrifugation and agarose-column chromatography. Each LP fraction was measured for protein, cholesterol (CH) and triglyceride TG) content. Total serum lipids were increased in the FS group above the control (9.16 vs. 4.65 mg/ml, week 5). Serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were elevated in the FS group, but were highly variable. Variations in lipid concentrations may have been due to variation in time of sampling during the day. In the second trial, four of the eight horses were used and divided into the same two groups; FS vs. control. After an initial sample, postprandial serial blood samples (1 hour intervals for 8 hours) were drawn at 2, 4 and 6 weeks. Upon examination of the data, Hour 3 post-feeding was chosen to represent postprandial LP values. In both trials, the horses were able to adapt to the added dietary fat. Maintenance of body weight and increased speed of lipid clearance from the blood by the end of each trial in the FS group support this statement. In the FS group, there was an increase in VLDL TG concentration, but not in LDL, This indicates an increase in VLDL TG clearance from the circulation, presumably by increased lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity. Cholesterol concentrations were also increased in the FS horses in the LDL and HDL. The rise in cholesterol may be attributed to endogenous recycling of liver products such as bile salts, which aid in digestion and absorption and are cholesterol based, In addition, there were greater quantities of LDL and HOL produced in the FS horses as supported by the increased protein concentrations as well as larger peaks for the eluate from the gel filtration column.
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