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Keywords:

  • glycogenosis;
  • horse;
  • muscle glycogen synthase gene;
  • polysaccharide storage myopathy

Summary

Glycogen storage diseases or glycogenoses are inherited diseases caused by abnormalities of enzymes that regulate the synthesis or degradation of glycogen. Deleterious mutations in many genes of the glyco(geno)lytic or the glycogenesis pathways can potentially cause a glycogenosis, and currently mutations in fourteen different genes are known to cause animal or human glycogenoses, resulting in myopathies and/or hepatic disorders. The genetic bases of two forms of glycogenosis are currently known in horses. A fatal neonatal polysystemic type IV glycogenosis, inherited recessively in affected Quarter Horse foals, is due to a mutation in the glycogen branching enzyme gene (GBE1). A second type of glycogenosis, termed polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), is observed in adult Quarter Horses and other breeds. A severe form of PSSM also occurs in draught horses. A mutation in the skeletal muscle glycogen synthase gene (GYS1) was recently reported to be highly associated with PSSM in Quarter Horses and Belgian draught horses. This GYS1 point mutation appears to cause a gain-of-function of the enzyme and to result in the accumulation of a glycogen-like, less-branched polysaccharide in skeletal muscle. It is inherited as a dominant trait. The aim of this work was to test for possible associations between genetic polymorphisms in four candidate genes of the glycogen pathway or the GYS1 mutation in Cob Normand draught horses diagnosed with PSSM by muscle biopsy.