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Plasma Metabolomics Reveals Lower Carnitine Concentrations in Overweight Labrador Retriever Dogs

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Plasma Metabolomics Reveals Lower Carnitine Concentrations in Overweight Labrador Retriever Dogs

Josefin Söder et al. Acta Vet Scand.

Abstract

Background: The prevalence of overweight is increasing in dogs, but the metabolic events related to this condition are still poorly understood. The purpose of the study was to investigate the postprandial response of plasma metabolites using a meal-challenge test and to identify metabolic variations related to spontaneous overweightness in privately owned dogs.

Results: Twenty-eight healthy male intact Labrador Retriever dogs were included, 12 of which were classified as lean (body condition score (BCS) 4-5 on a 9-point scale) and 16 as overweight (BCS 6-8). After an overnight fast (14-17 h), blood samples were collected and dogs were thereafter fed a high-fat meal. Postprandial blood samples were collected hourly four times. Plasma metabolites were identified by nuclear magnetic resonance. Postprandial metabolomes differed from the fasting metabolome in multivariate discriminant analysis (PLS-DA: Q2Y = 0.31-0.63, cross-validated ANOVA: P ≤ 0.00014) Eleven metabolites, all amino acids, contributed to the separations. Carnitine was identified as a metabolite related to overweight (stepwise logistic regression analysis P ≤ 0.03) and overweight dogs had overall lower carnitine response (mixed model repeated measures analysis P = 0.005) than lean dogs. Notably, mean fasting carnitine concentration in overweight dogs (9.4 ± 4.2 µM) was close to a proposed reference limit for carnitine insufficiency.

Conclusions: A postprandial amino acid response was detected but no time-dependent variations with regards to body condition groups were found. Lower carnitine concentrations were found in overweight compared to lean dogs. The latter finding could indicate a carnitine insufficiency related to spontaneous adiposity and altered lipid metabolism in overweight dogs in this cohort of otherwise healthy Labrador Retrievers.

Keywords: Canine; Carnitine insufficiency; Meal-challenge test; Metabolic variations; NMR; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Obesity; Postprandial metabolism.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Discriminant metabolites significant over time in the meal-challenge test, analysed with respect to body condition groups. Dogs were divided into two body condition groups: lean (BCS 4–5, n = 12) and overweight (BCS 6–8, n = 16), and the mixed model repeated measures analysis was applied. Values given as µM concentrations (mean ± SEM). Fasting plasma samples were taken 15 min before serving of a test meal at time 0 (arrow) and metabolite concentrations in lean and overweight dogs are shown as response curves from fasting to 4 h after feeding. No time-dependent variations in overall metabolite response with regards to body condition groups were found (aj)
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Differences in plasma carnitine concentrations between lean and overweight dogs during the meal-challenge test. Dogs were divided into two body condition groups: lean (BCS 4–5, n = 12) and overweight (BCS 6–8, n = 16), and the mixed model repeated measures analysis was applied. Values are given as µM concentrations (mean ± SEM). Fasting plasma samples were taken 15 min before serving of a test meal at time 0 (arrow) and carnitine concentrations in lean and overweight dogs are shown as response curves from fasting to 4 h after feeding. Significant differences in overall responses between body condition groups (**P < 0.01) are indicated and different letters (a and b) indicate significant differences between body condition groups within the fasting time point (P < 0.05)

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