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Keywords:

  • Canine;
  • Chronic Diarrhea;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD);
  • Interleukin;
  • Intestine

The pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and antibiotic-responsive diarrhea (ARD) in dogs likely involves an interaction between the intestinal immune system and luminal bacterial or food antigens. German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) are particularly predisposed to both IBD and ARD. CD4+ T cells are important for the regulation of immune responses in the mucosa, and they exert their effects through the secretion of cytokines. The present study examined the role of cytokines in the pathogenesis of canine chronic enteropathies by quantification of mRNA encoding interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, IL-18, interferon -y, tumor necrosis factor–α, transforming growth factor–β, and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in duodenal mucosal biopsies obtained from 39 dogs with chronic diarrhea and 18 control dogs. Contemporaneously collected biopsies were assessed for histologic changes with a 4-point grading system. No significant difference in the expression of cytokine mRNA (P > .01) was detected between dogs with and those without chronic diarrhea. Similarly, no significant differences in cytokine mRNA expression were observed between GSD and other breeds with chronic diarrhea, or between histologically normal duodenal mucosa and that with evidence of inflammatory change. Failure to detect a difference in mRNA expression does not rule out the possibility of a defect downstream at the level of translation or protein function. No conclusion can be drawn from these data as to the predominant CD4+ cell type in the pathogenesis of these canine chronic enteropathies.