Genetic architecture and polygenic risk score prediction of degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis (DSLD) in the Peruvian Horse. Academic Article uri icon


  • Introduction: Spontaneous rupture of tendons and ligaments is common in several species including humans. In horses, degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis (DSLD) is an important acquired idiopathic disease of a major energy-storing tendon-like structure. DSLD risk is increased in several breeds, including the Peruvian Horse. Affected horses have often been used for breeding before the disease is apparent. Breed predisposition suggests a substantial genetic contribution, but heritability and genetic architecture of DSLD have not been determined. Methods: To identify genomic regions associated with DSLD, we recruited a reference population of 183 Peruvian Horses, phenotyped as DSLD cases or controls, and undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS), a regional window variance analysis using local genomic partitioning, a signatures of selection (SOS) analysis, and polygenic risk score (PRS) prediction of DSLD risk. We also estimated trait heritability from pedigrees. Results: Heritability was estimated in a population of 1,927 Peruvian horses at 0.22 0.08. After establishing a permutation-based threshold for genome-wide significance, 151 DSLD risk single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified by GWAS. Multiple regions of enriched local heritability were identified across the genome, with strong enrichment signals on chromosomes 1, 2, 6, 10, 13, 16, 18, 22, and the X chromosome. With SOS analysis, there were 66 genes with a selection signature in DSLD cases that was not present in the control group that included the TGFB3 gene. Pathways enriched in DSLD cases included proteoglycan metabolism, extracellular matrix homeostasis, and signal transduction pathways that included the hedgehog signaling pathway. The best PRS predictive performance was obtained when we fitted 1% of top SNPs using a Bayesian Ridge Regression model which achieved the highest mean of R2 on both the probit and logit liability scales, indicating a strong predictive performance. Discussion: We conclude that within-breed GWAS of DSLD in the Peruvian Horse has further confirmed that moderate heritability and a polygenic architecture underlies the trait and identified multiple DSLD SNP associations in novel tendinopathy candidate genes influencing disease risk. Pathways enriched with DSLD risk variants include ones that influence glycosaminoglycan metabolism, extracellular matrix homeostasis, signal transduction pathways.

published proceedings

  • Front Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Momen, M., Brauer, K., Patterson, M. M., Sample, S. J., Binversie, E. E., Davis, B. W., ... Muir, P.

complete list of authors

  • Momen, Mehdi||Brauer, Kiley||Patterson, Margaret M||Sample, Susannah J||Binversie, Emily E||Davis, Brian W||Cothran, E Gus||Rosa, Guilherme JM||Brounts, Sabrina H||Muir, Peter

publication date

  • January 2023