02791-A: Neurofilament Light Chain Concentration in Dogs with Meningoencephalitis (MUE)

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $9,473
Christopher Mariani, DVM, PhD; North Carolina State University
February 1, 2020 - July 31, 2022

Sponsor(s): Pug Dog Club of America, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Neurology
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Meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology (MUE) is a common and devastating disorder that is most prevalent in small and toy breed dogs such as Pugs, Maltese and Chihuahuas. Although dogs frequently respond to anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive therapy, many dogs suffer relapses or worsen in the face of such therapy, and this condition is ultimately fatal in most cases. Currently available diagnostic tests including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal fluid (CSF) analysis are necessary to make a diagnosis of MUE but are not helpful in predicting the course of disease or likelihood of survival. In addition, these tests are expensive and their role in monitoring the response to therapy is uncertain. There is a critical need for novel biomarkers that will help predict responses to therapy and to monitor ongoing therapy, ideally using a blood sample. Neurofilament light chain (NF-L) is a protein found in neurons and released into the CSF and blood after injury to the central nervous system.  NF-L has emerged as a promising biomarker of brain inflammation in humans, largely due to the development of a sensitive assay that can detect very small concentrations of this protein. This study will measure NF-L within the CSF and serum of dogs with MUE and compare these concentrations with control samples.  The investigators will evaluate the utility of NF-L to predict patient response to therapy and prognosis.


None at this time.

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