Effect of Myostatin SNP on muscle fiber properties in male Thoroughbred horses during training period

J Physiol Sci. 2018 Sep;68(5):639-646. doi: 10.1007/s12576-017-0575-3. Epub 2017 Oct 20.


Variants of the Myostatin gene have been shown to have an influence on muscle hypertrophy phenotypes in a wide range of mammalian species. Recently, a Thoroughbred horse with a C-Allele at the g.66493737C/T single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) has been reported to be suited to short-distance racing. In this study, we examined the effect of the Myostatin SNP on muscle fiber properties in young Thoroughbred horses during a training period. To investigate the effect of the Myostatin SNP on muscle fiber before training, several mRNA expressions were relatively quantified in biopsy samples from the middle gluteal muscle of 27 untrained male Thoroughbred horses (1.5 years old) using real-time RT-PCR analysis. The remaining muscle samples were used for immunohistochemical analysis to determine the population and area of each fiber type. All measurements were revaluated in biopsy samples of the same horses after a 5-month period of conventional training. Although the expressions of Myostatin mRNA decreased in all SNP genotypes, a significant decrease was found in only the C/C genotype after training. While, expression of VEGFa, PGC1α, and SDHa mRNAs, which relate to the biogenesis of mitochondria and capillaries, was significantly higher (54-82%) in the T/T than the C/C genotypes after training. It is suggested that hypertrophy of muscle fiber is directly associated with a decrease in Myostatin mRNA expression in the C/C genotype, and that increased expressions of VEGFa, PGC1α, and SDHa in the T/T genotype might be indirectly caused by the Myostatin SNP.

Keywords: Development; Horses muscle; Myostatin SNP; Training.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Genotype
  • Horses / genetics
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myostatin / genetics*
  • Myostatin / physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*


  • Myostatin