Plasma steroid profiles before and after ACTH stimulation test in healthy horses

van Herwaarden, A.E.; Kirchmeier, Angela; van der Kolk, J.H.; Sauer, Fay J.; Gerber, Vinzenz (2019). Plasma steroid profiles before and after ACTH stimulation test in healthy horses. Domestic animal endocrinology, 72, p. 106419. Elsevier 10.1016/j.domaniend.2019.106419

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This study describes steroid profiles in equine plasma before and after ACTH stimulation. In human medicine, other steroids have been shown to have a more pronounced reaction to an ACTH stimulation test than cortisol. This study aimed to determine if the same was true for the horse. A total of 11 clinically healthy horses were selected for this study. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid plasma samples were taken before and 60 min after stimulation with 1 μg/kg BW of synthetic ACTH administered intravenously. The samples were analyzed for cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol, 21-deoxycortisol, cortisone, corticosterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone, androstenedione, 17-OH-progesterone, progesterone, and testosterone with a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol, cortisone, corticosterone, and 11-deoxycorticosterone showed a significant increase after ACTH stimulation. In conclusion, the LC-MS/MS represents a viable method to measure glucocorticoids and related precursors or metabolites in equine plasma samples. In addition, we were able to show a more pronounced increase of 11-deoxycorticosterone, 11-deoxycortisol, and corticosterone compared with cortisol. These 3 metabolites could potentially serve as more sensitive biomarkers for stress in horses than cortisol.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Equine Clinic

UniBE Contributor:

Kirchmeier, Angela; Sauer, Fay Joanne and Gerber, Vinzenz


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Ursula Therese Horst

Date Deposited:

04 Feb 2020 11:19

Last Modified:

09 Feb 2020 02:45

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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