01012-A: Genetic Studies in Chronic Superficial Keratitis in German Shepherd Dogs

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Guillermo Giovambattista, PhD; National University of La Plata
August 1, 2007 - July 31, 2008

Sponsor(s): Gordon Setter Club of America, TarTan Gordon Setter Club

Breed(s): German Shepherd Dog
Research Program Area: Ophthalmology
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Chronic superficial keratitis (CSK) is a progressive, inflammatory, and potentially blinding disease of the canine bilateral cornea. It is also known as German Shepherd Pannus, Uberreitier's syndrome, and degenerative Pannus. The German Sherpherd breed is most commonly affected. The diffuse pattern of stain deposition and the absence of staining of specific epithelial structures indicated that CSK is not a classical autoimmune disease similar to any disease as the pemphigus group or to the systemic lupus erythematosus. Although the results may implicate CSK as an immune-mediated disease, nonspecific factors could be ruled out. The normal central cornea has little MHC class II expression, aberrant expression occurs in CSK, associated with secretion of gamma interferon by infiltrating CD4-expressing lymphocytes. Although this change is likely to be a secondary feature of the CSK lesion, increased MHC class II expression may play a part in perpetuating the corneal inflammation seen in the disease. Given the previously reported association between the CSK and up-regulation of major histocompatability class II antigen expression, the primary goal of this project is to determine the association between the dog leukocyte antigen system (DLA) and the disease in German Shepherd dog. This will allow to detect individuals susceptible to develop the disease before the clinical signs appeared.


Barrientos, L. S., Zapata, G., Crespi, J. A., Posik, D. M., Díaz, S., It, V., … Giovambattista, G. (2013). A study of the association between chronic superficial keratitis and polymorphisms in the upstream regulatory regions of DLA-DRB1, DLA-DQB1 and DLA-DQA1. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 156(3–4), 205–210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2013.10.009

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