2020 Volume 69 Issue 1 Pages 11-17
Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated potassium channel 1 (HCN1) contribute to spontaneous rhythmic activity in different tissues, including the heart and brain. Deficiency in HCN1 function is associated with sick sinus syndrome in mice and epilepsy in humans. We recently developed Hcn1-deficient rats and found that they exhibit absence epilepsy. While rearing Hcn1-deficient rats, we noticed loose muscle tension and abnormal gait. We therefore evaluated the muscle strength and motor functions of Hcn1-deficient rats. When subjected to the wire hang test, Hcn1-deficient rats fell down more easily than control F344 rats. Grip strength of Hcn1-deficient rats was significantly smaller than F344 rats. In the inclined plane test, they exhibited a smaller maximum angle. In the rotarod test, the latency to fall was shorter for Hcn1-deficient rats than F344 rats. In the footprint analysis, Hcn1-deficient rats exhibited smaller step length and wider step width than F344 rats. Instead of poor motor coordination ability and muscle weakness, Hcn1-deficient rats exhibited normal electromyograms, muscle histology, and deep tendon reflex. These findings suggest that HCN1 channels contribute to motor coordination and muscle strength, and that the muscle weakness of Hcn1-deficient rats results from the involvement not of the peripheral but of the central nervous system.