Evaluation of basal plasma α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and adrenocorticotrophic hormone concentrations for the diagnosis of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction from a population of aged horses.
REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY
The sensitivity and specificity of basal plasma α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) for the diagnosis of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) has not been evaluated in a population-based study.
To evaluate basal plasma α-MSH and ACTH concentrations for the diagnosis of PPID in a population of horses aged ≥ 15 years.
Owner-reported data were obtained using a postal questionnaire distributed to an equestrian group. A subgroup of surveyed owners was visited and veterinary examination performed on horses aged ≥ 15 years. Blood samples were analysed for plasma α-MSH and ACTH concentrations. Seasonally adjusted cut-off values for α-MSH and ACTH concentrations for the diagnosis of PPID were obtained using Youden index values against a clinical gold standard diagnosis (hirsutism plus 3 or more clinical signs of PPID).
α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and ACTH were highly correlated with each other and with clinical and historical indicators of PPID. The increase in both α-MSH and ACTH with increasing numbers of clinical signs in affected horses supports a spectrum of disease. Both variables were affected by season, with derived cut-off values being higher in autumn compared with other seasons. Sensitivity and specificity were moderate and good in nonautumn seasons (59 and 93%, respectively) for α-MSH using a cut-off of 52.0 pmol/l. Sensitivity and specificity were good in nonautumn seasons (80 and 83%, respectively) for ACTH using a cut-off of 29.7 pg/ml. For both α-MSH and ACTH, sensitivity and specificity were close to 100% for samples obtained during the autumn period.
CONCLUSIONS AND POTENTIAL RELEVANCE
Basal plasma α-MSH and ACTH had moderate-to-good sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of PPID, which improved substantially during the autumn period, suggesting this may be the ideal time to test. Further studies to develop seasonally adjusted reference intervals for different geographical locations are warranted.
Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
SourceEquine veterinary journal 45:1 2013 Jan pg 66-73
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't