Malignant hyperthermia susceptibility is a lethal autosomal dominant disorder of skeletal muscle metabolism that is triggered by all potent inhalation anesthetic gases. Recent linkage studies suggest a genetic locus for this disorder on 19q13.1. We have previously reported three unrelated families diagnosed with MHS that are unlinked to markers surrounding this locus on 19q13.1. In this report we extend these observations and present linkage studies on 16 MHS families. Four families (25%) were found linked to the region 19q12-q13.2 (Zmax = 2.96 with the ryanodine receptor at θ = 0.0). Five families (31%) were found closely linked to the anonymous marker NME1 (previously designated NM23) on chromosome 17q11.2-q24 (Zmax = 3.26 at θ = 0.0). Two families (13%) were clearly unlinked to either of these chromosomal regions. In five additional families, data were insufficient to determine their linkage status (they were potentially linked to two or more sites). The results of our heterogeneity analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that MHS can be caused in humans by any one of at least three distinct genetic loci. Furthermore, we provide preliminary linkage data suggesting the localization of a gene in human MHS to 17q11.2-q24 (MHS2), with a gene frequency of this putative locus approximately equal to that of the MHS1 locus on 19q.
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