Additional evidence supports GRM6 p.Thr178Met as a cause of congenital stationary night blindness in three horse breeds
Esdaile, E., Knickelbein, K. E., Donnelly, C. G., Ferneding, M., Motta, M. J., Story, B. D., … Bellone, R. R. (2023, October 10). VETERINARY OPHTHALMOLOGY.
Congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB) is an ocular disorder characterized by nyctalopia. An autosomal recessive missense mutation in glutamate metabotropic receptor 6 (GRM6 c.533C>T, p.(Thr178Met)), called CSNB2, was previously identified in one Tennessee Walking Horse and predicted to reduce binding affinity of the neurotransmitter glutamate, impacting the retinal rod ON-bipolar cell signaling pathway. Thus, the first aim was to identify the allele frequency (AF) of CSNB2 in breeds with reported cases of CSNB and breeds closely related to the Tennessee Walking Horse. The second aim was to perform ocular examinations in multiple breeds to confirm the link between genotype and CSNB phenotype. In evaluating 3518 horses from 14 breeds, the CSNB2 allele was identified in nine previously unreported breeds. The estimated AF was highest in pacing Standardbreds (0.17) and lowest in American Quarter Horses (0.0010). Complete ophthalmic examinations and electroretinograms (ERG) were performed on 19 horses from three breeds, including one CSNB2 homozygote from each breed. All three CSNB2/CSNB2 horses had an electronegative ERG waveform under scotopic light conditions consistent with CSNB. The remaining 16 horses (seven CSNB2/N and nine N/N) had normal scotopic ERG results. All horses had normal photopic ERGs. This study provides additional evidence that GRM6 c.533C>T homozygosity is likely causal to CSNB in Tennessee Walking Horses, Standardbreds, and Missouri Fox Trotting Horses. Genetic testing is recommended for breeds with the CSNB2 allele to limit the production of affected horses. This study represents the largest across-breed identification of CSNB in the horse and suggests that this disorder is likely underdiagnosed.