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Vet Pathol. 1999 Jul;36(4):301-7.

Detection of an autoantibody from Pug dogs with necrotizing encephalitis (Pug dog encephalitis).

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Miyazaki University, Japan.


An autoantibody against canine brain tissue was detected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum of two Pug dogs (Nos. 1 and 2) by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Dog No. 1, a 2-year-old male, exhibited severe depression, ataxia, and generalized seizures and died 2 months after the onset of symptoms. Dog No. 2, a 9-month-old male, exhibited severe generalized seizures and died 17 months after the onset of symptoms. Histopathologic examination revealed a moderate to severe multifocal accumulation of lymphocytes, plasma cells, and a few neutrophils in both the gray and white matter of the cerebrum in dog No. 1. In dog No. 2, the cellular infiltrates were mild, but there was a severe, diffuse, and multifocal necrosis in the cerebral cortex with prominent astrocytosis. With the aid of IFA using fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled antidog IgG goat serum and a confocal imaging system, specific reactions for glial cells were detected in the CSF of these Pug dogs but not in six canine control CSF samples. Double-labeling IFA using CSF from these Pug dogs and a rabbit antiserum against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) revealed that the autoantibody recognized GFAP-positive astrocytes and their cytoplasmic projections. By immunoblot analysis, the autoantibody from CSF of these Pug dogs recognized two common positive bands at 58 and 54 kd, which corresponded to the molecular mass of human GFAP. The role of this autoantibody for astrocytes is not yet clear. However, if the presence of the autoantibody is a specific feature of Pug dog encephalitis, it will be a useful clinical diagnostic marker and a key to the pathogenesis of this unique canine neurologic disease.

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