Evaluation of CALC-I gene (CALCA) expression in tissues of dogs with signs of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome


  • Part of these results have been presented at the Small Animal Scientific Abstracts Session of the 2008 International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium.

  • Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to
Dr. Massimo Giunti, Dipartimento Clinico Veterinario, via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano dell'Emilia (BO), Italy.
Email: massimo.giunti@unibo.it


Objective – To perform a qualitative evaluation of procalcitonin gene (CALCA) expression in a tissue-specific manner in dogs with signs of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

Design – Observational study.

Setting – University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Animals – Nine clinical cases and 5 research dogs.

Interventions – None.

Measurements and Main Results – Fresh tissue samples (thyroid, lung, liver, spleen) from 9 dogs that died with a diagnosis of parvoviral infection or SIRS were collected and immediately stored at –80°C. Diagnosis of parvoviral infection was based on clinical signs, positive fecal antigen test, and confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Clinical diagnosis of SIRS was based on the clinical criteria reported in veterinary literature. Necropsy was performed on all subjects in the study. Furthermore, thyroid, lung, liver, spleen were collected from 5 normal research dogs immediately postmortem for testing. The 9 dogs with a clinical diagnosis of SIRS died from either parvovirus (n=5), bacterial sepsis (n=3), or neoplasia (n=1). CALCA was amplified by PCR in the following samples: thyroid (9/9), spleen (6/9), lung (4/9), liver (3/9). Only thyroid expressed CALCA in the 5 normal dogs.

Conclusions – In SIRS, extrathyroidal transcription of CALCA was documented. Quantitative analysis (real-time polymerase chain reaction) in a wider population of SIRS and normal dogs will provide essential information about the extent and source of extrathyroidal expression of canine CALCA induced by septic and nonseptic systemic inflammation.