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Breed-specific pro-inflammatory cytokine production as a predisposing factor for susceptibility to sepsis in the dog


Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Jean A. Nemzek, ULAM, University of Michigan, 018 ARF, 1150 W. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


Objective: To determine whether 2 dog breeds with a high risk for parvoviral enteritis, a disease associated with sepsis, produce stronger pro-inflammatory cytokine responses to a stimulus than dogs with a lower risk.

Design: Blinded comparison.

Setting: University outpatient clinic.

Animals: Healthy, unrelated, purebred Doberman Pinschers (n=10) and Rottweilers (n=9) with age-matched mixed-breed dogs (n=7).

Interventions: Heparinized, whole-blood samples were collected from each dog and incubated for 6 hours with lipopolysaccharide. Plasma was collected, and bioassays were used to determine the concentrations of TNF-α and IL-6. The mean values obtained from the high-risk breeds were compared with the mean obtained from the mixed-breeds.

Measurements and main results: The mean TNF-α production from dogs with a high risk for parvoviral enteritis (1321±161 pg/mL; Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler) was greater (P<0.05) than that from lower risk, mixed-breed dogs (674±186 pg/mL). There were no differences in TNF-α levels between Doberman (1128±247 pg/mL) and Rottweiler (1563±pg/mL) breeds or between any breeds with regard to IL-6 production.

Conclusions: The magnitude of TNF-α production by peripheral blood monocytes was the greatest in the dogs with breed-related risk for parvoviral enteritis. However, additional studies are needed to prove a causal relationship between high TNF and predilection for parvoviral enteritis. Regardless, breed appears to be a predisposing factor for variations in cytokine production that could impact the host response to infection and other inflammatory insults.