Defining the Genetic Basis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a group of disorders in which the intestinal tract has become invaded with the dog’s own white blood cells leading to inflammation. Over time, this inflammation causes the intestine to become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from digested food and weight loss, and vomiting or diarrhea often result. IBD can be controlled, but not cured.
The cause of IBD is poorly understood, but it appears that genetics, diet, intestinal bacteria, and abnormalities of the dog’s immune system all play a role. Dr. Allenspach has recently identified genetic markers known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) which she believes contribute to disease susceptibility. Beyond genetics, this research group has mechanistic data showing one of the putative mutations contributes to the inflammation seen in the intestine of dogs with IBD. In order to find all underlying genetic factors that could contribute to disease, they propose to perform a genome-wide association study.
This study will lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues for canine IBD as has already been the case in people with IBD.
Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 2002
Dr. Karen Allenspach DVM,PHD
Royal Veterinary College
University of London