-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have
pinpointed a gene mutation that causes a potentially deadly heart
condition in Newfoundland dogs.
The inherited condition -- called subvalvular aortic stenosis
(SAS) -- also affects children and other dog breeds. Surgery can
correct the problem in children, but not in dogs, the researchers
In dogs, SAS shows up in the heart as a ridge or ring of
abnormal tissue growth below the aortic valve that restricts blood
flow from the heart into the aorta. The condition can cause
fainting, sudden collapse, irregular heart rate or sudden
Dogs with mild SAS can have a normal lifespan, but those with
the severe form are likely to die before they are 4.5 years old,
even if they receive medications.
The researchers identified the gene mutation associated with
canine SAS after analyzing thousands of genes in Newfoundland dogs.
The mutation occurs in a gene called PICALM, according to the study
published recently in the journal
The same gene mutation has been linked to the formation of
plaque-like lesions in the brains of people with Alzheimer's
disease, according to study leader Dr. Joshua Stern, a veterinary
cardiologist at the University of California, Davis.
"Our hope now is that breeders will be able to make informed breeding decisions and avoid breeding dogs that harbor this mutation, thus gradually eliminating the disease from the Newfoundland breed," Stern said in a university news release.
"In addition, now that we know one gene is responsible for SAS and more about which proteins are involved, we can move forward to consider novel therapies that may help treat this devastating condition," he added.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
congenital heart defects in people.
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