Evaluation of mucosal bacteria and histopathology, clinical disease activity and expression of Toll-like receptors in German shepherd dogs with chronic enteropathies.
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The pathogenesis of chronic enteropathies in dogs likely involves an interaction between the intestinal immune system and luminal intestinal bacteria. German shepherd dogs (GSD) are particularly predisposed to chronic enteropathies. The present study sought to evaluate expression patterns of certain pattern recognition receptors of the innate immunity (Toll-like receptors, TLR), clinical disease activity and histopathological severity in GSD with chronic enteropathies. Mucosal biopsies were collected from the duodenum, colon and ileum of 13 affected GSD and 10 healthy greyhounds as controls. Dogs were objectively assessed using published scoring systems for clinical and histological severity of disease. Diversity of the duodenal microbiota was assessed by construction of 16S rRNA gene libraries. Expression of TLR2, TLR4, TLR5 and TLR9 in biopsies of the duodenum, ileum and colon was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. TLR4 expression was increased in all intestinal segments in GSD, however, TLR5 expression was very low compared to the healthy dogs. The microbiota in the duodenum of GSDs was significantly different to that of the greyhounds, with an over-representation of 16S rRNA gene sequences belonging to the classes of Bacilli, and Erysipelotrichi, and to the orders of Lactobacillales, Actinomycetales and Erysipelotrichales. These findings could point to a distinct pathogenesis of chronic enteropathies in GSD, with differentially high and low expression of TLR4 and TLR5, respectively, and increased proportions of specific members of the Lactobacillales potentially playing a role.