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  • Author or Editor: Jeffrey E. Fletcher x
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Objective—To determine sensitivity of equine skeletal muscle to tetrodotoxin and compare that with sensitivity of murine and human skeletal muscles.

Sample Population—Semimembranosus, vastus lateralis, triceps brachii, and masseter muscle specimens from 22 euthanatized horses, vastus lateralis muscle biopsy specimens from 25 clinically normal humans, and diaphragmatic muscle specimens from 6 mice.

Procedure—Electrically elicited twitch responses were measured in muscle specimens incubated in medium alone and with tetrodotoxin (100 nM, 400 nM, 1.6 µM for equine specimens and 100 nM, 200 nM, 400 nM, 800 nM, 1.6 µM for murine and human specimens). Percentages of tetrodotoxin-sensitive and -resistant sodium channels were determined and compared among muscles and species.

Results—2 sodium channels with different sensitivities to tetrodotoxin were identified in equine muscle. One was blocked with 100 nM tetrodotoxin and the other was unaffected by tetrodotoxin at concentrations up to 1.6 µM. The only difference detected among the 4 equine muscles was that masseter muscle specimens had a higher percentage of tetrodotoxin- sensitive channels than triceps brachii muscle specimens. Tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channels constituted 31 to 66% of the equine muscle twitch response, which was greater than that determined for normal human and murine muscle (< 5%).

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Equine skeletal muscle contains a high percentage of tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channels. The 4 equine muscles evaluated were more similar to each other than to murine and human muscles. Shifts in expression of sodium channel subtypes may play a role in the manifestation of certain myopathies. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:133–138)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research