02614-A: Validation of Fine Needle Aspiration as a Minimally Invasive Sampling Method for Gene Expression Quantification of Pharmacogenetic Targets

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $5,940
Jennifer M. Reinhart, DVM, PhD; University of Illinois
March 1, 2019 - February 28, 2021


Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: General Canine Health
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Gene expression is the process in which genes are activated and perform their action through the creation of proteins. Measuring gene expression in different organs improves our understanding of disease because it detects what has become dysregulated in the body. Gene expression is also important in pharmacogenetics: the study of how genetics influences the body’s response to drugs. Drugs are most commonly metabolized in the liver, so measuring the expression of genes in the liver helps us understand how an individual animal’s genetics determine the way they will handle a drug. Usually, measuring gene expression requires a biopsy sample, which is an invasive procedure requiring anesthesia. A different sampling technique, fine needle aspiration (FNA), is safer, less painful, and may be preferred over surgically-obtained samples if FNA can be demonstrated to yield consistent, accurate results. FNA samples have been used to examine liver gene expression before, but it has not been determined if results differ between locations within the organ. Despite its potential advantages as a diagnostic tool, the FNA technique must be shown to yield consistent results before it can be recommended for routine clinical use. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine whether gene expression in liver FNA samples is affected by sampling site. The investigators will compare the expression of three pharmacologically important genes between various locations within the canine liver. If validated, FNA would be a valuable, low-risk tool for evaluating gene expression with many applications in pharmacogenetics and the study of disease.


Hull, M. B., Schermerhorn, T., Vieson, M. D., & Reinhart, J. M. (2020). Feasibility of hepatic fine needle aspiration as a minimally invasive sampling method for gene expression quantification of pharmacogenetic targets in dogs. Veterinary Medicine and Science. https://doi.org/10.1002/vms3.351

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