The Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine


Muscle biopsy is considered as a gold standard for evaluations of muscle integrity and pathological conditions in horse skeletal muscle. A semi-automated microbiopsy device with small needle has recently been introduced in horse muscle research, however there is no report on the quality of the muscle tissue obtained by the device. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential of the semi-automated microbiopsy device for horse skeletal muscle tissue sampling by evaluating the quality of samples for histological and biochemical analyses. Gluteus medius muscle samples were taken from six mature polo ponies and three ageing polo ponies using the semi-automated microbiopsy device. Properties of skeletal muscle tissues including histological features of muscle fiber, cross-sectional area, fiber type, and oxidative enzyme activities were evaluated and compared between the mature and ageing horses. With up to three consecutive muscle biopsies, the amount of muscle samples (65.4 ± 8.6 mg) was sufficient for histological and biochemical analyses. No sign of pain was observed in the horses during and after biopsies, and biopsy wound completely healed in five days without any complications. The ageing horses showed a significantly smaller fiber cross-sectional area, decreased SDH positive fibers, and decreased citrate synthase activity when compared to the mature horses as reported elsewhere. These results suggest that the quality of muscle samples from the semi-automated microbiopsy device is well preserved for histological and biochemical analyses purpose. Thus, the semi-automated microbiopsy device is a potential tool for skeletal muscle sampling in horses. It offers a great opportunity to obtain sufficient quantity and great quality of muscle samples with less injury, less pain, and fast recovery.

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