Equine veterinary journal2018; 51(4); 475-480; doi: 10.1111/evj.13053

Heritability of metabolic traits associated with equine metabolic syndrome in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses.

Abstract: Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is a complex clinical disorder with both environmental and genetic factors contributing to EMS phenotypes. Estimates of heritability determine the proportion of variation in a trait that is attributable to genetics. Objective: To provide heritability estimates for nine metabolic traits associated with EMS in two high-risk breeds. Methods: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: High-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotype data was used to estimate the heritability (h ) of nine metabolic traits relevant to EMS in a cohort of 264 Welsh ponies and 286 Morgan horses. Traits included measurements of insulin, glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), triglycerides, leptin, adiponectin, ACTH, and glucose (GLU-OST) and insulin (INS-OST) following an oral sugar challenge. Results: In Welsh ponies, seven of the nine traits had statistically significant h estimates that were considered moderately to highly heritable (h >0.20) including: triglycerides (0.313; s.e. = 0.146), glucose (0.408; s.e. = 0.135), NEFA (0.434; s.e. = 0.136), INS-OST (0.440; s.e. = 0.148), adiponectin (0.488; s.e. = 0.143), leptin (0.554; s.e. = 0.132) and insulin (0.808; s.e. = 0.108). In Morgans, six of the nine traits had statistically significant h estimates that were also determined to be moderately to highly heritable including: INS-OST (0.359; s.e. = 0.185), leptin (0.486; s.e. = 0.177), GLU-OST (0.566 s.e. = 0.175), insulin (0.592; s.e. = 0.195), NEFA (0.684; s.e. = 0.164), and adiponectin (0.913; s.e. = 0.181). Conclusions: Insufficient population size may have limited power to obtain statistically significant h estimates for ACTH (both breeds), glucose and triglycerides in Morgans and GLU-OST in Welsh ponies. Conclusions: This study provides the first concrete evidence of a genetic contribution to key phenotypes associated with EMS. Eight of these nine traits had moderate to high h estimates in this cohort. These data demonstrate that continued research for identification of the genetic risk factors for EMS phenotypes within and across breeds is warranted.
Publication Date: 2018-12-15 PubMed ID: 30472742DOI: 10.1111/evj.13053Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Journal Article

Summary

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The study investigates the heritability or genetic transmission of metabolic factors associated with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses, providing crucial evidence of a genetic link to key characteristics of the disease.

Objective

  • The researchers aimed to provide estimates for heritability, that is, the proportion of variance in traits due to genetics, for nine metabolic traits linked with EMS in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses, breeds considered to be high-risk for the condition.

Methods

  • The investigation was a retrospective cohort study involving genotypic data of 264 Welsh ponies and 286 Morgan horses gathered using high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotype data.
  • They measured the heritability of metabolic traits including insulin, glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), triglycerides, leptin, adiponectin, ACTH, and glucose (GLU-OST) and insulin (INS-OST) levels after an oral sugar challenge.

Results

  • In Welsh ponies, seven out of nine traits had significant heritability estimates and were considered moderately to highly heritable. These included triglycerides, glucose, NEFA, INS-OST, adiponectin, leptin, and insulin levels.
  • In Morgan horses, six out of the nine traits had significantly high heritability, including INS-OST, leptin, GLU-OST, insulin, NEFA, and adiponectin.

Conclusions

  • The small population size may have limited the power to obtain statistically significant estimates for ACTH levels in both breeds, glucose, and triglycerides in Morgans and GLU-OST in Welsh ponies.
  • The study provides the first definitive evidence of a genetic contribution to the main phenotypes associated with EMS.
  • It shows that eight out of the nine traits under investigation had moderate to high heritability.
  • These findings support the need for further research to identify the genetic risk factors for EMS phenotypes within and across breeds.

Cite This Article

APA
Norton EM, Schultz NE, Rendahl AK, Mcfarlane D, Geor RJ, Mickelson JR, McCue ME. (2018). Heritability of metabolic traits associated with equine metabolic syndrome in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses. Equine Vet J, 51(4), 475-480. https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.13053

Publication

ISSN: 2042-3306
NlmUniqueID: 0173320
Country: United States
Language: English
Volume: 51
Issue: 4
Pages: 475-480

Researcher Affiliations

Norton, E M
  • Veterinary Population Medicine Department, 225 Veterinary Medical Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Schultz, N E
  • Veterinary Population Medicine Department, 225 Veterinary Medical Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Rendahl, A K
  • Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Mcfarlane, D
  • Department of Physiological Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA.
Geor, R J
  • College of Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Mickelson, J R
  • Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
McCue, M E
  • Veterinary Population Medicine Department, 225 Veterinary Medical Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

MeSH Terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Horse Diseases / genetics
  • Horse Diseases / metabolism
  • Horses
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Metabolic Syndrome / veterinary
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide

Grant Funding

  • D14EQ-033 / Morris Animal Foundation
  • 2009-55205-05254 / United States Department of Agriculture
  • T32 OD010993 / National Institutes of Health

Citations

This article has been cited 9 times.
  1. Gmel AI, Brem G, Neuditschko M. New genomic insights into the conformation of Lipizzan horses.. Sci Rep 2023 Jun 2;13(1):8990.
    doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-36272-4pubmed: 37268682google scholar: lookup
  2. Clark BL, Bamford NJ, Stewart AJ, McCue ME, Rendahl A, Bailey SR, Bertin FR, Norton EM. Evaluation of an HMGA2 variant contribution to height and basal insulin concentrations in ponies.. J Vet Intern Med 2023 May-Jun;37(3):1186-1192.
    doi: 10.1111/jvim.16723pubmed: 37148171google scholar: lookup
  3. Wallis N, Raffan E. The Genetic Basis of Obesity and Related Metabolic Diseases in Humans and Companion Animals.. Genes (Basel) 2020 Nov 20;11(11).
    doi: 10.3390/genes11111378pubmed: 33233816google scholar: lookup
  4. Carslake HB, Pinchbeck GL, McGowan CM. Equine metabolic syndrome in UK native ponies and cobs is highly prevalent with modifiable risk factors.. Equine Vet J 2021 Sep;53(5):923-934.
    doi: 10.1111/evj.13378pubmed: 33128277google scholar: lookup
  5. Patterson Rosa L, Mallicote MF, Long MT, Brooks SA. Metabogenomics reveals four candidate regions involved in the pathophysiology of Equine Metabolic Syndrome.. Mol Cell Probes 2020 Oct;53:101620.
    doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2020.101620pubmed: 32659253google scholar: lookup
  6. Norton E, Schultz N, Geor R, McFarlane D, Mickelson J, McCue M. Genome-Wide Association Analyses of Equine Metabolic Syndrome Phenotypes in Welsh Ponies and Morgan Horses.. Genes (Basel) 2019 Nov 6;10(11).
    doi: 10.3390/genes10110893pubmed: 31698676google scholar: lookup
  7. Raudsepp T, Finno CJ, Bellone RR, Petersen JL. Ten years of the horse reference genome: insights into equine biology, domestication and population dynamics in the post-genome era.. Anim Genet 2019 Dec;50(6):569-597.
    doi: 10.1111/age.12857pubmed: 31568563google scholar: lookup
  8. Norton EM, Avila F, Schultz NE, Mickelson JR, Geor RJ, McCue ME. Evaluation of an HMGA2 variant for pleiotropic effects on height and metabolic traits in ponies.. J Vet Intern Med 2019 Mar;33(2):942-952.
    doi: 10.1111/jvim.15403pubmed: 30666754google scholar: lookup
  9. Durward-Akhurst SA, Schultz NE, Norton EM, Rendahl AK, Besselink H, Behnisch PA, Brouwer A, Geor RJ, Mickelson JR, McCue ME. Associations between endocrine disrupting chemicals and equine metabolic syndrome phenotypes.. Chemosphere 2019 Mar;218:652-661.