Metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans have been linked to alterations in the gastrointestinal microbiota and metabolome. Knowledge of these associations has improved our understanding of the pathophysiology of these diseases and guided development of diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic interventions. The cellular and molecular pathophysiology of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and obesity in horses, however, remain ill-defined. Thus, the objectives of this study were to characterize the fecal microbiome, fecal metabolome, and circulating lipidome in obese and non-obese horses. The fecal microbiota, fecal metabolome, and serum lipidome were evaluated in obese (case) horses (n = 20) and non-obese (control) horses (n = 20) matched by farm of origin (n = 7). Significant differences in metabolites of the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle and circulating free fatty acids were identified in the obese horses compared to the non-obese horses. These results indicate that the host and bacterial metabolism should be considered important in obese horses. Further studies to determine whether these associations are causal and the mechanistic basis of the association are warranted because they might reveal diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic interventions to mitigate obesity, EMS, and sequelae including laminitis.
- Gastrointestinal Microbiome
- Metabolic Syndrome