Clinical Phenotype of X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy in Labrador Retriever Puppies

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Abstract

Background:

Seven male Labrador Retriever puppies from 3 different litters, born to clinically normal dams and sires, were evaluated for progressive weakness and muscle atrophy. Muscle biopsies identified a congenital myopathy with pathologic features consistent with myotubular myopathy. Further investigations identified a pathogenic mutation in the myotubularin gene, confirming that these puppies had X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM).

Objective:

To review the clinical phenotype, electrodiagnostic and laboratory features of XLMTM in this cohort of Labrador Retrievers.

Results:

Male puppies with XLMTM were small and thin compared with their normal littermates. Generalized weakness and muscle atrophy were present by 7 weeks of age in some puppies and evident to most owners by 14 weeks of age. Affected puppies stood with an arched spine and low head carriage, and walked with a short, choppy stride. Muscle atrophy was severe and progressive. Patellar reflexes were absent. Laryngeal and esophageal dysfunction, and weakness of the masticatory muscles occurred in puppies surviving beyond 4 months of age. Serum creatine kinase activity was normal or only mildly increased. EMG findings were nonspecific and included positive sharp waves and fibrillation potentials. Clinical signs progressed rapidly, with most affected puppies unable to walk within 3–4 weeks after clinical signs were first noticed.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance:

Although initial clinical signs of XLMTM are similar to the phenotypically milder centronuclear myopathy in Labrador Retrievers, XLMTM is a rapidly progressive and fatal myopathy. Clinicians should be aware of these 2 distinct myopathies with similar clinical presentations in the Labrador retriever breed.

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