Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lou Gehrig's Disease In Humans Genetically Linked To Dog Disease

Date:
January 23, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers 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, researchers can now use dogs with DM as animal models to help identify therapeutic interventions for curing the human disease, ALS.

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 researchers can now use dogs with DM as animal models to help identify therapeutic interventions for curing the human disease, ALS.

Related Articles


"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.

This study was a collaborative project with MU researchers and Kerstin Lindbld-Toh and Claire Wade, researchers at the Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study was funded by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and participating breed clubs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Genome-wide association analysis reveals a SOD1 mutation in canine degenerative myelopathy which resembles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 21, 2009

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Lou Gehrig's Disease In Humans Genetically Linked To Dog Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121174124.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, January 23). Lou Gehrig's Disease In Humans Genetically Linked To Dog Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121174124.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Lou Gehrig's Disease In Humans Genetically Linked To Dog Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121174124.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins