Post-exercise cardiac troponin I release and clearance in normal Standardbred racehorses.
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BACKGROUND: There are currently no studies detailing cardiac troponin I (cTnI) release in normal horses post-exercise using an analytically validated assay. These data are essential for selecting appropriate sampling times in equine athletes with suspected myocardial injury. OBJECTIVE: To plot the magnitude and time course of cTnI release after maximal effort, using validated cTnI assays. STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive longitudinal study. METHODS: Five clinically normal Standardbred racehorses in race training were included in the study. Horses were exercised in harness at near-race intensity. Blood samples were taken immediately pre- and post-exercise and then hourly for 24 h. Samples were analysed using the validated high-sensitivity cTnI assay and a contemporary sensitivity cTnI assay. RESULTS: Mean resting cTnI was 1.33 ± 0.6 s.d. ng/L (range, 0.82-2.33 ng/L) using assay A. All horses were below the detection limit at rest using assay B. Peak elevation occurred 2-6 h post-exercise with both assays (mean, 4.6 ± 1.7 and 4.0 ± 2 h, respectively). Mean peak increase in cTnI was 11.96 ± 9.41 ng/L (range, 1.72-23.76 ng/L) using assay A. Peak concentrations were detectable in three of the horses using assay B and were between 0.039 and 0.051 μg/L (mean: 0.043 ± 0.006 μg/L). All horses returned to baseline within 24 h. MAIN LIMITATIONS: A small (n = 5) convenience sample was used as random sampling was not logistically possible. CONCLUSIONS: All horses experienced an increase in cTnI post-exercise, with peak occurring 2-6 h post-exercise. Cardiac troponin I elevation was detected earlier using the high-sensitivity assay, which may convey a diagnostic advantage. Targeted studies are needed to determine the significance of these increases.
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