02452-A: Targeting the T helper Inflammatory Pathway in Meningoencephalomyelitis of Unknown Origin (MUO)

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $8,845
Renee Barber, DVM, PhD; University of Georgia
January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2021

Sponsor(s): American Boxer Charitable Foundation, Pug Dog Club of America, Inc.

Breed(s): Maltese
Research Program Area: Neurology
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Meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown origin (MUO) is a common neurological disorder of dogs that results in inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord causing depression, seizures, blindness, difficulty walking, and death. All dogs can be affected but young to middle aged small and toy breed dogs (such as the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pug, and Yorkshire Terrier) are often affected. Currently, brain biopsy is the only means of definitive diagnosis prior to death and the ideal treatment is not known. There is a critical need to improve diagnosis and treatment of MUO. The investigators will identify changes in the immune system associated with inflammation that occurs in the brains and spinal cords of affected dogs, looking for specific products of the immune response, such as interferon-gamma and interleukin 17, in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Identification of these products could lead to development of new diagnostic tests, strategies for more effective treatment, and improved prognosis prediction.


Barber, R., & Barber, J. (2022). Differential T-cell responses in dogs with meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown origin compared to healthy controls. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.925770

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