Dog leukocyte antigen

Dog leukocyte antigen

Dog Leukocyte Antigen

The dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) is a part of the major hisocompatability complex (MHC) in dogs, the DLA encodes for genes in the MHC. The DLA and MHC system are interchangeable terms in canines. The MHC plays a critical role in the immune response system and consists of three regions, class I, class II and class III. DLA is associated with the first two classes which are involved in the regulation of antigens in the immune system. The class II genes are highly polymorphic with many different alleles/haplotypes that have been linked to diseases, alergies, and autoimmune conditions such as diabetes, polyarthritus, and hypothyroidism in canines.
There’s likely hundreds of immunologically relevant genes making up the DLA region in the canine genome, as of present date the complete characteristics of the gene is unknown. MHC genes represent candidate susceptibility in canines; some alleles promote protection against immune-mediated diseases and some increase susceptibility. For example certain combinations of the DLA-DRB1 and DQ alleles are most favorable for good immune regulation. These alleles help balance immune surveillance and immune response without increasing the risk of developing an autoimmune condition. Different canine breeds have MHC/DLA allele association; these genes exhibit more inter-breed differentiation than intra breed differentiation. Dogs have been selectively bred for different genotypes and phenotypes, selection in the DLA genome can lead to an increase in the prevalence of immune-mediated diseases. Due to selective breeding some breeds have become restricted in their DLA genes which explain the different immune responses in different breeds. This is because there is a strong linkage disequilibrium that exists between DLA class II loci. The pattern displayed by the differences in human ethnic groups is analogous to the pattern displayed by the distribution of DLA types in different canine breeds. MHC genes in humans are also known to be major contributors to autoimmune condition development.

Canine Diabetes and DLA

In 1974 J. Nerup and others discovered that there is a link between diabetes and MHC genes. Dog leukocyte antigen has been found to be the genetic component associated with canine diabetes. The common alleles/haplotypes found in diabetes prone breeds (Samoyed, Carin Terrier, and Tibetan Terrier) are DLA DBR1*009, DQA1*001, and DQB1*008. The DLA DQA1 alleles code for an arginine amino acid at position 55 in region two, this increases the risk of developing diabetes in dog as arginine is a positive amino acid which can impair antigen binding. This allele is also associated with hypothyroidism which implies that this allele increases susceptibility for endocrinopathic immune-mediated diseases. It is possible that the link discovered between DLA associations and diabetes could be due to "makers" of susceptibility and that the true reason for susceptibility lies elsewhere in the genome. It could be associated with particular DLA alleles/haplotypes or caused by the strong linkage disequilibrium.


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