The Comparative Exercise Physiology Laboratory has access to USDA-approved housing for research dogs and horses, including dedicated all-season stalls for horses (including heated automatic waterers and high-speed blowers) built specifically for the CEPL. This system has proven invaluable in maintaining the health of the research herd, allowing studies to proceed uninterrupted by infectious disease outbreaks.
Treadmill Video in .MOV format
Treadmill Video in .WMV format
The Comparative Exercise Physiology Laboratory maintains an EquiGym high-speed treadmill for combined research and clinical use by the College of Veterinary Medicine. Purchased in 2003, the treadmill has infinitely variable speed from 0-60 mph and can incline from 0-10%. The treadmill is located in a separate building with independent climate control systems and large volume blowers for ensuring appropriate thermoregulation during exercise. The high-speed treadmill facility also contains a Nova Biomedical pHOx-Plus L blood gas analyzer for on-site blood gas and lactate analysis.
Exercise capacity is derived from cardiopulmonary function, and thus the Comparative Exercise Physiology Laboratory contains a robust collection of equipment to assess the heart and lungs during both rest and exercise. Cardiac activity can be routinely measured non-invasively using telemetric heart rate and electrocardiography. A Columbus Instruments thermodilution cardiac output computer is used for more precise (but more invasive) measurements of cardiac function. These instruments, as well as a variety of pressure and electrical signal transducers, can be connected to one of 4 physiographs for amplification, signal conditioning, and ultimately streamed into a computer for high-speed data collection and electronic storage. Upper airway function can be evaluated at rest and during exercise using a Karl Storz videoendoscopy system. Lower airway function can be measured using either traditional pulmonary mechanical parameters (using a Hans Rudolph Pulmonary Function Computer) or using newer non-invasive techniques of impulse oscillometry (using a Jaeger Impluse Oscillometry Pulmonary Function Computer).
Research projects involving sled dogs are performed in remote areas of Alaska where access to electricity, running water and heat is difficult. The Comparative Exercise Physiology Laboratory has modified a 30’x 8’ cargo trailer to address these needs. The Mobile Alaskan Laboratory is a certified BSL-2 facility, outfitted with a specially designed generator/battery bank system providing power for lights (interior and exterior) and equipment. The unit was built with 3” insulation and is heated by a Toyo stove which burns heating oil piped in from a self-contained storage tank on board. Equipment in the trailer includes a Pentax videoendoscopy unit with DVD recording capabilities and printer, ECG, pulse/ox, 3 centrifuges, surgical/biopsy instruments, biocontainment hood, autoclave, incubator, electronic dog scale, 2 procedure benches, cryo-storage containers, camp sink, water storage containers, dog holding area in Arctic entrance and storage for supplies.
The Comparative Exercise Physiology Laboratory has a strong capacity for cellular, biochemical, and nucleic acid analysis through in-house and shared equipment resources. Within the laboratory, the CEPL has an ESA Coularray HPLC system with refrigerated autosampler and electrochemical, fluorometric, and spectrophotometric detection modules. This system has been optimized for analysis of liquid-phase markers of oxidative stress such as Vitamins A, C, and E, and glutathione redox ratio. The CEPL has a second HPLC system similarly equipped that is used for pharmacological assays. For gas-phase analytes, the CEPL has a Perkin Elmer TurboChrom gas chromatograph with flame ionization detector and a thermal desorption autosampler. This unit is optimized for measurement of oxidative stress biomarkers in exhaled breath, but can be adapted for many other analytical processes. Complementing this equipment are dedicated multi-well and tunable plate spectrophotometers for routine absorbance and commercial plate assays.
The Comparative Exercise Physiology Laboratory has developed the appropriate reagents for evaluation of canine and equine molecular immunology, in order to take full advantage of the college resources in nucleic acid analysis. The CEPL stocks validated primer and probe sequences for most cytokine mRNA in these species, and can analyze cytokine responses in both circulating lymphocytes, cultured lymphocytes, and bronchoalveolar lavage nucleated cells. Additional targets can be rapidly developed using protocols that have been successfully employed in the laboratory, making virtually any gene product quantifiable.