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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Multiple Genetic Loci Associated with Pug Dog Thoracolumbar Myelopathy

Brander, Gustaf; Rohdin, Cecilia; Bianchi, Matteo; Bergvall, Kerstin; Andersson, Goran; Ljungvall, Ingrid; Jaderlund, Karin Hultin; Haggstrom, Jens; Hedhammar, Ake; Lindblad-Toh, Kerstin; Tengvall, Katarina


Pug dogs with thoracolumbar myelopathy (PDM) present with a specific clinical phenotype that includes progressive pelvic limb ataxia and paresis, commonly accompanied by incontinence. Vertebral column malformations and lesions, excessive scar tissue of the meninges, and central nervous system inflammation have been described. PDM has a late onset and affects more male than female dogs. The breed-specific presentation of the disorder suggests that genetic risk factors are involved in the disease development. To perform a genome-wide search for PDM-associated loci, we applied a Bayesian model adapted for mapping complex traits (BayesR) and a cross-population extended haplotype homozygosity test (XP-EHH) in 51 affected and 38 control pugs. Nineteen associated loci (harboring 67 genes in total, including 34 potential candidate genes) and three candidate regions under selection (with four genes within or next to the signal) were identified. The multiple candidate genes identified have implicated functions in bone homeostasis, fibrotic scar tissue, inflammatory responses, or the formation, regulation, and differentiation of cartilage, suggesting the potential relevance of these processes to the pathogenesis of PDM.


pug; myelopathy; GWAS; dog genetics; BayesR; bayesian; selection; XP-EHH; bone homeostasis; cartilage; inflammatory response; fibrotic scar tissue

Published in

2023, Volume: 14, number: 2, article number: 385
Publisher: MDPI