Multiple autoimmune diseases syndrome in Italian Greyhounds: Preliminary studies of genome-wide diversity and possible associations within the dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) complex

Niels C Pedersen, Hongwei Liu, Daniel L. Greenfield, Layle Griffioen Echols

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12 Scopus citations


A disorder manifested by multiple autoimmune disorders, and resembling autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 (APS-2) in humans, may exist in Italian Greyhounds. The incidence of this disorder is increasing and its potential impact on the health of the breed is becoming of great concern. The aims of the present study were to document the existence of this syndrome, conduct a preliminary assessment of genetic diversity across the breed and within affected and unaffected dogs, determine whether the disorder associates with the dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) complex, and demonstrate similarities to APS-2 of humans. To these ends, information on disease, pedigrees, and blood or buccal swab samples were collected from affected and healthy Italian Greyhounds and extracted DNA analyzed. Analysis of Y chromosome markers and mitochondrial DNA sequences showed that Italian Greyhounds evolved from a single patriline and two major and four minor matrilines. A panel of 24 highly polymorphic simple tandem repeat (STR) markers across 20 autosomes demonstrated that affected and unaffected dogs were not distinguishable from the population as a whole by heterozygosity, F-statistics, and principal component analysis (PCA). However, analysis of allele frequencies at each STR loci identified regions of increased or decreased disease risk on four chromosomes. A similar genetic analysis using 109 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the DLA region showed differences between affected and unaffected dogs. PCA and zygosity mapping of DLA SNPs from unrelated dogs demonstrated two distinct subpopulations among the affected individuals. One population was very homozygous and the other closely resembled unaffected dogs in its heterozygosity, suggesting the evolution of a disease prone bloodline as a result of non-random selection. Exon 2 sequencing of the DLA class II genes demonstrated 5-8 alleles at each locus and 14 three loci haplotypes. Two specific haplotypes containing DRB1*00203 or DRB1*02901 were associated with increased disease risk in about one-third of affected dogs. However, high density SNP association mapping across the DLA region and CFA12 did not corroborate the association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-276
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2012



  • Autoimmunity
  • DLA class II
  • Dog leukocyte antigen (DLA)
  • Genetic associations
  • Inbreeding
  • Italian Greyhound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)

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