Background: Alpha-tocopherol (α-TP) supplementation is recommended for the prevention of various equine neuromuscular disorders. Formulations available include RRR-α-TP acetate powder and a more expensive but rapidly water-dispersible liquid RRR-α-TP (WD RRR-α-TP). No cost-effective means of rapidly increasing serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) α-TP with WD RRR-α-TP and then sustaining concentrations with RRR-α-TP acetate has yet been reported. Objectives: To evaluate serum, CSF and muscle α-TP concentrations in an 8-week dosing regimen in which horses were transitioned from WD RRR-α-TP to RRR-α-TP acetate. Study design: Non-randomised controlled trial. Methods: Healthy horses with serum α-TP of <2 μg/mL were divided into three groups and followed for 8 weeks. In the control group (n = 5), no α-TP was administered. In the second group (Group A; n = 7), 5000 IU/day RRR-α-TP acetate was administered. In the third group (Group WD-A; n = 7), doses of 5000 IU/day of WD RRR-α-TP were administered over 3 weeks, followed by a 4-week transition from WD RRR-α-TP to RRR-α-TP acetate, and a final 1 week of treatment with RRR-α-TP acetate. Serum samples were obtained weekly; muscle biopsies were obtained before, at 2.5 weeks and after supplementation. CSF samples were obtained before and after the 8-week period of supplementation. Results: Serum α-TP increased significantly in Group WD-A at week 1 and remained significantly higher than in Group A and the control group throughout the transition, with inter-individual variation in response. Serum α-TP increased significantly by week 7 in Group A. CSF α-TP increased significantly in Group WD-A only. Muscle α-TP concentrations did not differ significantly across groups. Serum and CSF α-TP were closely correlated (r = 0.675), whereas serum and muscle-α-TP concentrations were not correlated. Main limitations: The study duration was short and data on pre-transition CSF was lacking. Conclusions: The administration of 5000 IU/day of water-dispersible RRR-α-TP rapidly increases serum α-TP. Serum and CSF α-TP concentrations are sustained with a gradual transition to 5000 IU/day of RRR-α-TP acetate. Periodic evaluation of serum α-TP concentrations is recommended because responses vary among individuals.
- Equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy
- Equine motor neuron disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas