Interpretive Summary: Short Communication: Supplementation with calcium butyrate causes an increase in the percentage of oxidative fibers in equine gluteus medius muscle
By: Nicolas I Busse, Madison L Gonzalez, Ashley L Wagner, Sally E Johnson
The largest tissue in the body, skeletal muscle, is a heterogeneous mix of fibers that are categorized based on their primary source of energy production and speed of contraction. Evidence suggests that Thoroughbred horses with a greater percentage of type IIA, fast-twitch, oxidative fibers are more successful than those with fewer. Pigs fed a diet supplemented with butyrate contained a greater percentage of oxidative muscle fibers. This study examined the ability of calcium butyrate (CB), a short-chain fatty acid, to alter muscle fiber composition in horses. Adult Thoroughbred geldings were supplemented with a placebo or CB for 30 d, and gluteus medius muscle biopsies were retrieved and analyzed for fiber type, myogenin expression, and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity. Results demonstrate a small increase in the percentage of type IIA fibers without a change in SDH activity, a marker of oxidative metabolism. Myogenin expression remained unaffected by CB supplementation. These efforts underscore the need for further research to validate improved exercise performance in response to CB supplementation and identify a mechanism of action for the fatty acid in the equine skeletal muscle.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.