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Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2003 Jan-Feb;116(1-2):31-6.

Molecular genetic and expression analysis of alpha-tocopherol transfer protein mRNA in German shepherd dogs with degenerative myelopathy.

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Department of Cardiology and Pneumology, University Hospital Benjamin Franklin, Freie Universit├Ąt, Berlin, Germany.


Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive neurological disorder of the spinal cord preferentially occurring in German shepherd dogs. The pathogenesis of the disease is unknown. However, there are indications that vitamin E deficiency may be involved in the pathogenesis of DM. Therefore, we analyzed the expression and the nucleotide sequence of the canine alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (alpha Ttp) of German shepherd dogs with DM in order to determine whether a deficiency or a defect of the alpha Ttp could be a primary factor in the pathogenesis of DM, as found in human patients with Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED). The cDNA of the coding region of the canine alpha Ttp-mRNA was generated from total liver RNA using RT-PCR and 5' RACE technique. We determined the sequence of 707 out of 834 base pairs or 84.8% of the canine alpha Ttp coding region. Sequence comparison of canine alpha Ttp between affected and control dogs revealed no differences in either nucleotide or predicted amino acid sequence. Using Northern blot analysis alpha Ttp-mRNA expression was solely found in the liver of the dogs, rats and humans, while various other organs showed no alpha Ttp-mRNA expression. No significant differences in expression levels of canine alpha Ttp mRNA were found between DM and control dogs. Our data suggest that the canine alpha Ttp gene is unlikely to be involved in the pathogenesis of DM in German shepherd dogs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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