The study indicates that the homogeneity of strong genetic risk factors within dog breeds make dogs an excellent model in which to identify pathways involved in human complex diseases. The results of the study also open the door for further studies of specific T-cell activation pathways in human populations.
The unique canine breed structure makes dogs an excellent model for studying genetic diseases. Incidences of specific diseases are elevated in different breeds, indicating that a few genetic risk factors might have accumulated through drift or selective breeding. In the new Swedish-Finnish study with 81 affected dogs and 57 controls from the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever breed the researchers identified five loci associated with a canine systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) -related disease complex. Fine mapping with twice as many dogs validated these loci.
"Our results indicate that the homogeneity of strong genetic risk factors within dog breeds allows multigenic disorders to be mapped with fewer than 100 cases and 100 controls, making dogs an excellent model in which to identify pathways involved in human complex diseases", says Professor Hannes Lohi, University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Center, Finland.
Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers (NSDTRs) are strongly predis¬posed to many immune-mediated diseases, including a systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) -related disease complex comprising an immune-mediated rheumatic disease (IMRD) and steroid-responsive meningitis-arteritis (SRMA). The NSDTR breed was developed in the Yarmouth region of Nova Scotia in the early 1800s as a hunting and retrieving dog. The breed descended from a very small population of dogs that survived two devastating outbreaks of canine distemper virus in 1908 and 1912. One hypothesis for the abnormally high rates of autoimmune diseases in modern NSDTRs world-wide is that dogs with particularly strong or reactive immune systems were much more likely to survive these outbreaks.
Pedigree analysis of the SLE disease complex in NSDTRs has indicated that it involves multi-genetic inherit¬ance, like most autoimmune diseases in humans. The IMRD disease complex involves chronic musculoskeletal signs with a clinical picture indicative of immune-mediated non-erosive polyarthritis. Many of the clinical features of the canine IMRD complex are similar to those of human SLE.
"In this study, we have identified five loci that predispose to an SLE-related disease in NSDTRs. The study highlights the strength of disease mapping in dogs, where a canine breed may carry a few disease loci, each with a strong effect, that together are sufficient to predispose to a complex disease", Professor Lohi states. Some types of genetic risk factor will be more easily traced in dogs than in humans, and the dog studies might be a valuable complement to human study for identifying new genes and pathways that are important in disease pathogenesis.
"Although we plan to identify and characterize the functions of the canine mutations, this study opens the door for further studies of specific T-cell activation pathways in human populations. In the more long term, the development of clinical treatment regimens based on a dog's particular risk genotype might be possible. For instance, the effect of calcineurin inhibitors could be studied in dogs as a comple¬ment or alternative to traditional corticosteroid therapy. Such studies might also lead to better treatment options for human rheumatic diseases and SLE", Lohi says.
Professor Hannes Lohi | EurekAlert!
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy