This study evaluated the effects of exercise on cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentrations in healthy, adult horses.
Fifteen fit, healthy horses determined to have a normal cardiovascular system completed a standardized exercise test on a high-speed treadmill. Heparinized blood was collected for plasma cTnI concentrations before maximal exercise, and 1, 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 h post-exercise. The cTnI concentrations were measured with a commercial system (Stratus CS, Dade Behring, Inc.). Results were analysed by a multivariate ANOVA, where indicated post hoc analysis was done by Tukey–Kramer HSD and significance was placed at p < 0.05.
All horses had elevations in cTnI concentrations after maximal exercise. Values for cTnI trended higher at 3 h (0.066 ± 0.011 ng ml− 1) and 6 h (0.062 ± 0.011 ng ml− 1) post-exercise compared with pre-exercise (0.039 ± 0.007 ng ml− 1), although this did not reach statistical significance. Mean cTnI concentrations were within our normal reference range at all time points, although four individuals were above our normal range after exercise.
These data show that short-term, high-intensity exercise induces a small rise in plasma cTnI in normal horses. This should be kept in mind when evaluating cTnI concentrations in horses that have recently completed intense exercise. In addition, these data suggest that 3–6 h after intense exercise may be the optimal time for measurement of cTnI concentrations in horses with suspected exercise-induced myocardial damage.