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The activities of the enzymes involved in the malate–aspartate shuttle and the expression of malate dehydrogenase (MDH), a rate-limiting enzyme in the NADH shuttle that produces ATP in glucose metabolism in leukocytes, were determined to investigate the differences in this shuttle system in the peripheral leukocytes of dogs and cats. There were no significant differences between dogs and cats in plasma glucose, immunoreactive insulin, free fatty acid or triglyceride concentrations. The activities of cytosolic and mitochondrial MDH and of mitochondrial glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH) in canine leukocytes were significantly higher than in feline leukocytes. High activities of MDH in canine leukocytes were confirmed by RT-PCR analysis on the total RNA extracted from leukocytes. It was concluded that there were significant differences between dogs and cats in the NADH shuttle system.