Type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy caused by genetic mutation in the glycogen synthase 1 gene is present in many breeds including the Noriker and Haflinger horses. In humans, EMG has already been used to document changes in the muscle activity patterns of patients affected by human glycogen storage disorders. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to describe gluteus muscle activity with surface electromyography (sEMG) in Haflinger and Noriker horses with known GYS1 mutation status during walk and trot. Thirty-two horses (11 Haflinger and 21 Noriker horses) with homozygous non-affected (GG), heterozygous affected (GA) and homozygous affected (AA) status of GYS1 mutation without overt clinical signs of any myopathy were selected for the current study. Using surface electromyography gluteus medius muscle activity at walk and at trot was measured, and muscle activity was described in relation to the maximum observed value at the same sensor and the same gait. In order to further describe the signals in detail comprising both frequencies and amplitudes, the crossings through the baseline and the 25, 50 and 75 percentile lines were determined. The result of the relative muscle activity did not show a consistent difference between affected and non-affected horses. Genetically affected (GA and AA) horses showed significantly less density of muscle activity for both gaits and horse breeds except for the crossings per second at the baseline and 75 percentile at walk in the Haflinger horses and 75 percentile at trot in the Noriker horses. The medians of all calculated density values were significantly lower in the GA Haflingers compared to the GG Haflingers (p = 0.012) and also in the AA Norikers compared to the GG Norikers (p = 0.011). Results indicate that the GYS1 mutation reduces the number of functional muscle fibres detected by sEMG measurements even in the absence of overt clinical signs.
Keywords: Haflinger; Noriker; muscle activity; polysaccharide storage myopathy; surface electromyography.
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.