Navigation Links
Researchers genetically link Lou Gehrig's disease in humans to dog disease

COLUMBIA, Mo. An incurable, paralyzing disease in humans is now genetically linked to a similar disease in dogs. Researchers from the University of Missouri and the Broad Institute have found that the genetic mutation responsible for degenerative myelopathy (DM) in dogs is the same mutation that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the human disease also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. As a result of the discovery, which will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, researchers can now use dogs with DM as animal models to help identify therapeutic interventions for curing the human disease, ALS.

"We uncovered the genetic mutation of degenerative myelopathy, which has been unknown for 30 years, and linked it to ALS, a human disease that has no cure," said Joan Coates, a veterinary neurologist and associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Dogs with DM are likely to provide scientists with a more reliable animal model for ALS. Also, this discovery will pave the way for DNA tests that will aid dog breeders in avoiding DM in the future."

Previously, ALS research has relied heavily on transgenic rodents that expressed the mutant human gene SOD1, which causes ALS. Researchers found that dogs with DM also had mutations in their SOD1 gene. Many rodent models possess very high levels of the SOD1 protein that can produce pathologic processes distinct from those occurring in ALS patients. Since the SOD1 mutation is spontaneous in dogs, the clinical spectrum in dogs may represent more accurately that of human ALS.

"Compared with the rodent models for ALS, dogs with DM are more similar to people in size, structure and complexity of their nervous systems, and duration of the disease," said Gary Johnson, associate professor of veterinary pathobiology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "The results from clinical trials conducted with DM-affected dogs may better predict the efficacies of therapeutic interventions for treating ALS in humans."

ALS causes progressive neurodegeneration, affecting both the central and peripheral nervous systems. The disease leads to advancing weakness and muscle atrophy, and culminates in paralysis and death. DM has been recognized for more than 35 years as a spontaneously occurring, spinal cord disorder in dogs. DM is reported most commonly in German Shepherds but also exists in other breeds, such as Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Boxers. There are no treatments for ALS and DM that clearly have been shown to stop or slow progression of the diseases. Owners of dogs with DM usually elect euthanasia six months to a year after diagnosis when the dogs can no longer support their weight with their pelvic limbs, whereas people with ALS typically progress to the state of complete paralysis and succumb to respiratory failure.


Contact: Kelsey Jackson
University of Missouri-Columbia

Related biology news :

1. Texas Medical Center researchers win collaborative grants
2. Researchers describe protease inhibitor that may aid in diabetic retinopathy treatment
3. Researchers examine developing hearts in chickens to find solutions for human heart abnormalities
4. JDRF-funded researchers discover proteins regulating human beta cell replication
5. Researchers to use K-States BSL-3 Lab for $1 million study of fungus threatening wheat crops
6. Researchers identify potential new weapon in battle against HIV infection
7. U-M researchers discover new genes that fuse in cancer
8. Researchers first to see reactive oxygen species in vital enzyme
9. Dartmouth researchers find new protein function
10. Burnham researchers discover on switch for cell death signaling mechanism
11. Salk researchers develop novel glioblastoma mouse model
Post Your Comments:
(Date:9/28/2015)... FRANCISCO , September 28, 2015 ... is expected to reach USD 12.03 billion by 2020, ... 2020. Technological advancements such as Backside Illumination (BSI) technique ... growth over the forecast period.      (Logo: ... back of the chip to reduce loss and, thus, ...
(Date:9/26/2015)...  Results of a TactioRPM pilot project in ... the Stanford Medicine X Conference. In a presentation ... Health Devices and Pharmacogenomics", Roger Simard , ... how senior patients equipped with connected health devices ... the TactioRPM remote patient monitoring platform were empowered ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... -- This report provides detailed descriptions of the sensor ... sensor types that will dominate in the future. Many ... wearable technology hype curve in the last five years ... with all of them is the prominence of sensor ... functions. Sensors collect data about the physical and chemical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ), the leading ... processes to develop and market advanced products and therapies ... Ophthalmic, and the Dental sectors of healthcare, announced today ... the Company has been dismissed by the court.  ... stated, "As we suspected, this case was brought by ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... company engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in ... of Dennis Turpin , the Company,s former Senior ... close its Quebec City office.  ... and Chief Executive Officer of the Company commented, "After ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... Dr. Carl ... has joined the firm as a Premier Expert consultant. NDA Partners Premier ... bring extraordinary value to the company's clients. Premier Experts collaborate to design ...
(Date:10/10/2015)... 10. Oktober, 2015 Am 8. Oktober ... Demokratischen Partei für Kalifornien) ihre Würdigung der International ... in die Aufzeichnungen des Kongresses eintragen lassen. Die ... Association (PPTA) und ihren Mitgliedsunternehmen unterstützt. Ihre ... des Bewusstseins über Plasmaspenden weltweit , Würdigung ...
Breaking Biology Technology: