Dog leukocyte antigen class II-associated genetic risk testing for immune disorders of dogs: Simplified approaches using pug dog necrotizing meningoencephalitis as a model

Niels C Pedersen, Hongwei Liu, Lee Millon, Kimberly Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


A significantly increased risk for a number of autoimmune and infectious diseases in purebred and mixed-breed dogs has been associated with certain alleles or allele combinations of the dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) class II complex containing the DRB1, DQA1, and DQB1 genes. The exact level of risk depends on the specific disease, the alleles in question, and whether alleles exist in a homozygous or heterozygous state. The gold standard for identifying high-risk alleles and their zygosity has involved direct sequencing of the exon 2 regions of each of the 3 genes. However, sequencing and identification of specific alleles at each of the 3 loci are relatively expensive and sequencing techniques are not ideal for additional parentage or identity determination. However, it is often possible to get the same information from sequencing only 1 gene given the small number of possible alleles at each locus in purebred dogs, extensive homozygosity, and tendency for disease-causing alleles at each of the 3 loci to be strongly linked to each other into haplotypes. Therefore, genetic testing in purebred dogs with immune diseases can be often simplified by sequencing alleles at 1 rather than 3 loci. Further simplification of genetic tests for canine immune diseases can be achieved by the use of alternative genetic markers in the DLA class II region that are also strongly linked with the disease genotype. These markers consist of either simple tandem repeats or single nucleotide polymorphisms that are also in strong linkage with specific DLA class II genotypes and/or haplotypes. The current study uses necrotizing meningoencephalitis of Pug dogs as a paradigm to assess simple alternative genetic tests for disease risk. It was possible to attain identical necrotizing meningoencephalitis risk assessments to 3-locus DLA class II sequencing by sequencing only the DQB1 gene, using 3 DLA class II-linked simple tandem repeat markers, or with a small single nucleotide polymorphism array designed to identify breed-specific DQB1 alleles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011



  • Dog leukocyte antigen class II association
  • Genetic risk testing
  • Immune disorders
  • Linked simple tandem repeat markers
  • Linked single nucleotide polymorphism markers
  • Necrotizing meningoencephalitis
  • Pug dog encephalitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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