Background: Necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME, aka Pug dog encephalitis) is an inflammatory brain condition associated with advanced disease at initial presentation, rapid progression, and poor response to conventional immunomodulatory therapy. Hypothesis/Objectives: That genetic risk for NME, defined by a common germline DNA haplotype located on chromosome 12, is associated with altered blood cytokine concentrations and leukocyte subsets in asymptomatic Pugs. Animals: Forty Pug dogs asymptomatic for NME from a hospital sample. Methods: Prospective observational cohort study, including germline genome-wide genotyping, plasma cytokine determination by multiplexed profiling, and leukocyte subset characterization by flow cytometric analysis. Results: Seven (18%) dogs were high risk, 10 (25%) medium risk, and 23 (58%) low risk for NME, giving a risk haplotype frequency of 30%. High and medium risk Pugs had significantly lower proportion of CD4+ T cells (median 22% [range, 7.3%-38%] vs 29% [range, 16%-41%], P =.03) and higher plasma IL-10 concentrations than low-risk Pugs (median 14.11 pg/mL [range, 9.66-344.19 pg/mL] vs 12.21 pg/mL [range, 2.59-18.53 pg/mL], P =.001). No other variables were significantly associated with the NME haplotype-based risk. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: These data suggest an immunological underpinning to NME and a biologic rationale for future clinical trials that investigate novel diagnostic, preventative, and therapeutic strategies for this disease.
- genetic risk
- immune dysregulation
- necrotizing meningoencephalitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas