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Myoplasmic calcium regulation in myotubes from horses with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis

Lentz, Linnea R., Valberg, Stephanie J., Herold, Lee V., Onan, Gary W., Mickelson, James R., Gallant, Esther M.
American journal of veterinary research 2002 v.63 no.12 pp. 1724-1731
Thoroughbred, biopsy, caffeine, calcium, cell culture, contracture, crossbreds, fluorescence, horses, image analysis, muscle fibers, muscles, myocytes, rhabdomyolysis
Objective-To determine whether alterations in myoplasmic calcium regulation can be identified in muscle cell cultures (myotubes) and intact muscle fiber bundles derived from Thoroughbreds affected with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER). Animals-6 related Thoroughbreds with RER and 8 clinically normal (control) Thoroughbred or crossbred horses. Procedures-Myotube cell cultures were grown from satellite cells obtained from muscle biopsy specimens of RER-affected and control horses. Fura-2 fluorescence was used to measure resting myoplasmic calcium concentration as well as caffeine- and 4-chloro-m-cresol (4-CMC)-induced increases in myoplasmic calcium. In addition, intact intercostal muscle fiber bundles were prepared from both types of horses, and their sensitivities to caffeine- and 4-CMC-induced contractures were determined. Results-Myotubes of RER-affected and control horses had identical resting myoplasmic calcium concentrations. Myotubes from RER-affected horses had significantly higher myoplasmic calcium concentrations than myotubes from control horses following the addition of ≥ 2mM caffeine; however, there was no difference in their response to 4-CMC (greater than 1mM). Caffeine contracture thresholds for RER and control intact muscle cell bundles (2 vs 10mM, respectively) were significantly different, but 4-CMC contracture thresholds of muscle bundles from RER-affected and control horses (500µM) did not differ. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-An increase in caffeine sensitivity of muscle cells derived from a family of related RER-affected horses was detected in vitro by use of cell culture with calcium imaging and by use of fiber bundle contractility techniques. An alteration in muscle cell calcium regulation is a primary factor in the cause of this heritable myopathy.