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Canine Genet Epidemiol. 2014 Sep 25;1:10. doi: 10.1186/2052-6687-1-10. eCollection 2014.

A retrospective study of the prevalence of the canine degenerative myelopathy associated superoxide dismutase 1 mutation (SOD1:c.118G > A) in a referral population of German Shepherd dogs from the UK.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology and Pathogen Biology, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA UK.
2
Department of Pathology and Pathogen Biology, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA UK ; Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd, Ellesfield Avenue, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS UK.
3
Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Canine degenerative myelopathy (CDM) is an adult onset, progressive neurodegenerative disease of the spinal cord. The disease was originally described in the German Shepherd dog (GSD), but it is now known to occur in many other dog breeds. A previous study has identified a mutation in the superoxide dismutase 1 gene (SOD1:c.118G > A) that is associated with susceptibility to CDM. In the present study, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis was used to genotype GSD for SOD1:c.118G > A in order to estimate the prevalence of the mutation in a referral population of GSD in the UK.

RESULTS:

This study demonstrated that the RFLP assay, based on use of PCR and subsequent digestion with the Eco571 enzyme, provided a simple genotyping test for the SOD1:c.118G > A mutation. In a young GSD population (i.e. dogs less than 6 years of age, before clinical signs of the disease usually become apparent), 8 of 50 dogs were found to be homozygous and a further 19 were heterozygous for the mutation. In dogs over 8 years of age, 21 of 50 dogs admitted to a tertiary referral hospital with pelvic limb ataxia as a major clinical sign were homozygous for the mutation, compared to none of 50 dogs of similar age, but where no neurological disease was reported on referral.

CONCLUSIONS:

This data suggests that genotyping for the SOD1:c.118G > A mutation is clinically applicable and that the mutation has a high degree of penetrance. Genotyping might also be useful for screening the GSD population to avoid mating of two carriers, but since the allele frequency is relatively high in the UK population of GSD, care should be taken to avoid reduction in genetic diversity within the breed.

KEYWORDS:

Ataxia; Degenerative myelopathy; Genetic test; German shepherd dog; Superoxide dismutase 1

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