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J Comp Pathol. 2011 Nov;145(4):359-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 May 17.

CD11c+ cells are significantly decreased in the duodenum, ileum and colon of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, London, UK.


CD11c serves as a marker for human and murine dendritic cells (DCs) and cells expressing this marker have been shown to have similar morphological and functional characteristics in the canine immune system. The aim of this study was to quantify CD11c(+) cells in the duodenum, ileum and colon of healthy dogs and dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Endoscopic biopsies from the duodenum (n=12 cases), ileum (n=8 cases) and colon (n=12 cases) were obtained from dogs diagnosed with IBD. Intestinal tissue from 10 healthy beagle dogs was used as control. Immunofluorescence microscopy was carried out using an anti-canine CD11c monoclonal antibody. Labelled cells were recorded as cells per 120,000 μm(2). The canine chronic enteropathy clinical activity index (CCECAI) was calculated for all dogs with IBD. In addition, sections from all dogs with IBD were evaluated according to the guidelines of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Gastrointestinal Standardization Group. The number of CD11c(+) cells in the duodenum, ileum and colon of dogs with IBD was significantly reduced compared with controls (P<0.01, P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively). There was a significant negative correlation between the number of CD11c(+) cells in the colon of dogs with IBD and the CCECAI (P=0.044, r(2)=-0.558). Chronic inflammation in canine IBD appears to involve an imbalance in the intestinal DC population. Future studies will determine whether reduced expression of CD11c could be a useful marker for the diagnosis and monitoring of canine IBD.

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