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Circadian rhythms of osteocalcin in equine serum. Correlation with alkaline phosphatase, calcium, phosphate and total protein levels.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


The purpose of the study was to determine whether there were circadian variations in serum osteocalcin in normal horses and to determine whether it was important to regulate the time of blood sampling in clinical investigations. Osteocalcin or bone Gla-protein (BGP), alkaline phosphatase, total calcium, phosphate and total protein were studied over a 24 h period. Blood samples were taken every 60 min from nine adult Standardbred horses. There was a correlation between serum levels of alkaline phosphatase (r = 0.3, p less than 0.01), phosphate (r = 0.42, p less than 0.01) and serum osteocalcin levels. There was a very marked individual effect on serum levels of osteocalcin and alkaline phosphatase (p less than 0.01). This effect was present for phosphate levels but not significant for total calcium. The individual effect was lower and time effect was higher for serum osteocalcin if the subjects were divided into two age groups, one of horses of five years or less (n = 4) and a second group older than five years (n = 5). In both groups a circadian rhythmicity was observed. Serum osteocalcin showed a biphasic pattern. Levels were constant during daytime (light period) and underwent significant variations during the night (dark period), going through a nadir at 2000 h and through a maximum peak at 0500 h. It was concluded that in normal horses the blood osteocalcin level follows a circadian variation. Also daytime (light period) seems to be the more appropriate period for blood sampling.

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