1629: The Genetics of the Major Histocompatibility Complex in Canine Immune-Mediated Diseases

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $48,349
Dr. Niels C Pedersen, PhD, University of California, Davis
October 26, 1998 - October 25, 1999
Sponsor(s): American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc., Weimaraner Club of America
Breed(s): Akita
Research Program Area: Prevention

Project Summary

In these studies, researchers mapped molecular markers in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC), the receptors on the cell surface that present foreign proteins and trigger an immune response. This mapping was done for normal Akitas. They then applied these markers to two immune-mediated diseases in Akitas, myasthenia gravis, a muscle-related disease, and uveodermatologic disease, a depigmenting disease that affects the eyesight. The results support the assertion that restriction of variability in the canine MHC can predispose dogs to autoimmune disease. These studies investigated the role of the MHC in immune-mediated diseases, as these diseases appear to occur with increasing prevalence in purebred dogs. The ability of the immune system to determine self from non-self using the MHC is a critical process for a healthy immune response. Many of the markers developed under these studies are applicable to other breeds and provided the basis for further work to determine if similar patterns of MHC variation are seen in other breeds at risk for autoimmune disease.

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