Exercise is one of the most stressful physiologic stimuli that an animal might suffer, depending on its intensity it may generate a reaction mediated by acute phase proteins (APP). The aim of this study was to characterize the acute phase reaction and its relation to performance horses subjected to long distance competition. The experiment was conducted during the annual March of Resistance promoted by the Brazilian Association of Crioulo Horse Breeders (ABCCC), composed of a 750km route traveled during 15 days. 23 horses which were divided in two groups, one group composed by the 10 best placed horses and the second group consisting of 13 animals that have completed the competition in other positions or were disqualified before concluding the race were evaluated. All horses at the beginning of the competition (day 0) and on the last day of competition were subjected to collection of blood and SDS-polyacrylamide gel (SDS-PAGE) electrophoresis was used to measure APPs concentrations (albumin, ceruloplasmin, transferrin, haptoglobin, acid glycoprotein, immunoglobulin G, immunoglobulin A and a protein with molecular weight of 23 kDa). By the evaluation of the results, it was observed that exercise had a highly significant influence (P<0.0001) in the serum concentrations of the ceruloplasmin, haptoglobin, acid glycoprotein, immunoglobulin A and protein with molecular weight of 23kDa. When comparing the results of the study groups it was observed that the concentration of haptoglobin after the competition was higher in the group of animals with low performance (group 2). We conclude that the long term competition is able to generate acute phase reaction and monitoring the concentration of haptoglobin may be an indicator of inflammation and low performance.
acute phase reaction; exercise; horses; proteins