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  • Author or Editor: Patricia K. Dranchak x
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Objective—To determine whether there was genetic linkage between the recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) trait in Thoroughbred horse pedigrees and DNA markers in genes (the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium release channel [RYR1] gene, the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase [ATP2A1] gene, and the transverse tubule dihydropyridine receptor-voltage sensor [CACNA1S] gene) that are important in myoplasmic calcium regulation.

Animals—34 horses in the University of Minnesota RER resource herd and 62 Thoroughbreds from 3 families of Thoroughbreds outside of the university in which RER-affected status was assigned after 2 or more episodes of ER had been observed.

Procedures—Microsatellite DNA markers from the RYR1, ATP2A1, and CACNA1S gene loci on equine chromosomes 10, 13, and 30 were identified. Genotypes were obtained for all horses in the 4 families affected by RER, and data were used to test for linkage of these 3 loci to the RER phenotype.

Results—Analysis of the RYR1, CACNA1S, and ATP2A1 microsatellites excluded a link between those markers and the RER trait.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—It is likely that the heritable alterations in muscle contractility that are characteristic of RER are caused by a gene that is not yet known to cause related muscle disease in other species.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate whether biochemical or genetic alterations in AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) play a role in the development of polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) in Quarter Horses.

Animals—30 PSSM-affected and 30 unaffected (control) Quarter Horses.

Procedures—By use of an established peptide phosphotransfer assay, basal and maximal AMPK activities were measured in muscle biopsy samples obtained from 6 PSSM-affected and 6 control horses. In 24 PSSM-affected and 24 control horses, microsatellite markers identified from the chromosomal locations of all 7 AMPK subunit genes were genotyped with a fluorescent DNA fragment analyzer. Alleles of 2 of the AMPK γ subunit genes were genotyped via DNA sequencing. Allele frequencies of DNA markers in or near the AMPK subunit genes were measured in isolated genomic DNA.

Results—No differences in basal or maximal muscle AMPK enzyme activities between PSSM-affected and control horses were detected. There were also no differences in allele frequencies for microsatellite markers near any of the 7 AMPK subunit genes between the 2 groups. Furthermore, previously known and newly identified alleles of 2 equine AMPK γ subunit genes were also not associated with PSSM.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These results have provided no evidence to indicate that AMPK plays a causative role in PSSM in American Quarter Horses.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To develop a diagnostic test for recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) in Thoroughbreds that relied on in vitro contracture of muscle biopsy specimens and determine whether the inheritance pattern of RER diagnosed on the basis of this contracture test was consistent with an autosomal dominant trait.

Design—Clinical trial.

Animals—8 adult horses with RER and 16 control adult horses for development of the contracture test; 23 foals for inheritance of RER.

Procedure—External intercostal muscle biopsy specimens from the 24 adult horses were tested for contracture in response to halothane and caffeine, and criteria for a positive test result were determined. These criteria were then applied to results for the 23 foals to determine whether they had RER. Simple segregation analysis was performed to determine whether results were consistent with a dominant pattern of inheritance.

Results—Results of the contracture test were positive for 5 of the 12 colts and 4 of the 11 fillies. Results of segregation analysis were consistent with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Two sires with RER produced colts with RER, supporting the hypothesis that RER had an autosomal, rather than an X-linked, inheritance pattern. In addition, in 1 instance, an unaffected colt was produced by 2 affected parents, which was not consistent with a recessive mode of inheritance.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although the expression of the RER trait is influenced by sex, temperament, and diet, among other factors, results from the in vitro muscle contracture test and this breeding trial suggest that RER in Thoroughbreds can be modeled as a genetic trait with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:762–767)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association