Leukocyte telomere length in the Thoroughbred racehorse

Denham, J and Denham, M 2018, 'Leukocyte telomere length in the Thoroughbred racehorse', Animal Genetics, vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 452-456.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Leukocyte telomere length in the Thoroughbred racehorse
Author(s) Denham, J
Denham, M
Year 2018
Journal name Animal Genetics
Volume number 49
Issue number 5
Start page 452
End page 456
Total pages 5
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Abstract Thoroughbred racehorses possess superior cardiorespiratory fitness levels and are at the pinnacle of athletic performance compared to other breeds of horses. Although equine athletes have undergone years of artificial selection for racing performance, musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses are common and concerns relating to animal welfare have been proposed. Leukocyte telomere length is indicative of biological age, and accelerated telomere shortening occurs with excess physical and psychological stress. This study was designed to explore the association between leukocyte telomere length, biological factors (age, sex and coat colour), training status, winnings and race history parameters. Blood was collected from 146 Thoroughbred racehorses from around Geelong, Victoria, Australia. DNA was extracted from leukocytes; telomere length was measured using qPCR and analysed in context with traits obtained from the Racing Australia website. Age was inversely correlated with telomere length (r = -0.194, P = 0.019). The oldest horses (>= 11 years) in the highest age quartile possessed shorter telomeres compared to younger horses in the first, second and third quartiles (<= 2, 3-5 and 6-10 years respectively; P < 0.05). No statistically significant associations were observed between telomere length and biological factors, training status, winnings or race history parameters in age-adjusted analyses. The study findings suggest that Thoroughbred horses may undergo age-related telomere shortening similar to other mixed breeds and humans. Despite concerns from some quarters regarding the welfare of racehorses, there was a lack of accelerated biological ageing observed in the present study, as indicated by leukocyte telomere length.
Subject Genetics not elsewhere classified
Physiology not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) ageing
biological age
Equus caballus
DOI - identifier 10.1111/age.12681
Copyright notice © 2018 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics
ISSN 1365-2052
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