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GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY:
CEREBROSPINAL FLUID ANALYSIS IN A SPONTANEOUS CANINE MODEL OF
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
I dedicated this work to my parents, Mr. Toshiki Oji and Mrs. Sayoko Oji.
I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Roger M. Clemmons, the chair-man of
my supervisory committee, for his guidance, advice, and support throughout my master's
project and giving me the opportunity to study under his instruction. I also would like to
acknowledge my other committee members, Drs. Cheryl L. Chrisman and Rick A.
Alleman, for their enthusiastic instructions and valuable discussions. I wish to thank Dr.
Hiroaki Kamishina and Mrs. Jennifer A. Cheeseman for their technical assistance.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv
LIST OF TA BLE S ......... .... ........ .... .... ...... ....................... .... vii
LIST OF FIGURES .............................................. ........ ...... ............. viii
ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ...... .......... .......... ix
1 IN TR OD U CTION ............................................... .. ......................... ..
Clinical Significance of PPM S .................................. ........................................... 1
C clinical Significance of G SD M ................................................................. ...... ....1
Clinical Signs of PPM S ................................ ..... ........ ................. .2
Clinical Signs of GSDM .................. ....................................... .... ......... 3
P athologic F findings of PPM S .......................................................................... ...... 4
Pathologic Findings of GSDM .................................. .....................................5
Clinical D iagnosis of PPM S ................................................................... ............... 6
Clinical D iagnosis of G SD M ......................................................... ............... 8
Etiology of PPSM ............... ................. ............ ..................... .... 9
E tiology of G SD M ................................ .......... .. ...................... ................ .. 10
Genetic Significance of GSDM Related to PPMS ...........................................11
P purpose of T hesis R research ............................................................. ..................... 12
2 MEASUREMENT OF MYELIN BASIC PROTEIN IN THE CEREBROSPINAL
FLUID OF DOGS WITH DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY............................13
In tro d u ctio n ............................................. ........................ ................ 1 3
M materials and M methods ....................................................................... .................. 14
R e su lts ............. .. ....... .. .. ........... ... ............................. ................ 1 6
D iscu ssio n ...................... .. .. ......... .. .. ..................................................17
3 ANTI-MBP ANTIBODY DETECTION IN THE CSF WITH GSDM....................22
In tro du ctio n ...................................... ................................................ 2 2
M materials and M methods ....................................................................... ..................23
R e su lt ...............................................................................................2 3
D iscu ssio n ...................................... ................................................. 2 3
4 OLIGOCLONAL BAND DETECTION IN THE CEREBROSPINAL FLUID OF
DOGS WITH DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY...............................................26
Introduction .............. .... ... ......... ....... ...... ........................ .. 26
M materials and M ethods ............................................. .................. ............... 27
Optim ization of the IEF Protocol ... .................... ...........................................27
Detection of Oligoclonal Bands in GSDM Patients................. ............. .....30
R e su lts ...................... .............. .................................................................... ............... 3 1
O ptim ization of the IEF Protocol ... .................... ...........................................31
Detection of Oligoclonal Bands in GSDM Patients................. ............. .....33
D isc u ssio n ............................................................................................................. 3 3
O ptim ization of the IEF Protocol ... .................... ...........................................33
Detection of Oligoclonal Bands in GSDM Patients................. ............. .....37
5 INTRATHECAL IGG SYNTHESIS IN GSDM.......................................................43
In tro du ctio n ...................................... ................................................ 4 3
M materials and M methods ....................................................................... ..................43
R results and D iscu ssion .............................. ........................ .. ...... .... ...... ...... 44
A lbum in Q uanta ........................ ................ .. ......... ....... 44
IgG Index .........................................................................................................45
6 LIMITATIONS IN THE STUDY AND CONCLUSION ......................................48
L im itatio n s ................... ...................4...................8..........
L im station in Sam pling G groups ..................................................................................48
Limitation in Immune Cross-Reactivity of Human MBP ELISA ............................49
Lim itation in IEF-Im m unofixation ......... ................. ................... .....................50
Sum m ary ............ .......................... .. .. ............ ............... 51
MBP in Human Neurological Disorders and GSDM ...................................51
Oligoclonal Band in Human Neurological Disorders and GSDM...................53
C onclu sion .......................................................... ........... ............... 54
L IST O F R EFE R E N C E S ......... ......................... .......... ........................... ............... 55
B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................63
LIST OF TABLES
2-1 Clinical observations and CSF appearances.................................. ............... 19
4-1 Clinical observations and CSF analysis of 6 German shepherd dogs with
degenerativ e m y elopathy ............................................................... .....................40
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1 Medians and ranges of total protein concentration (mg/ml) in the CSF .................19
2-2 The cross-reactivity of the anti-human MBP (myelin basic protein) to the canine
MBP was demonstrated by immunoblotting...................... ............................... 20
2-3 Sensitivity (O.D.) of the isolated canine MBP in the human MBP ELISA. ...........20
2-4 Medians and ranges of the MBP concentration (ng/ml) in the cerebrospinal fluid
(CSF) of 9German shepherd degenerative myelopathy (GSDM) and normal
d o g s ................................................................................2 1
3-1 Standard curve of monoclonal anti-human MBP antibody in the ELISA...............25
3-2 The concentrations of the anti-MBP (O.D.) antibody in canine CSF ....................25
4-1 The CSF containing 50ng, 100ng, and 200ng of IgG were applied in IEF-
immunoblotting. A dose dependent intensity was observed. The banding
patterns presented by immunoblotting (A) were analyzed by the densitometry
(B ) .......... ............................. ................................................ 3 8
4-2 The CSF containing 100ng of IgG was focused at 1000Vh and 10,000Vh. No
banding pattern was observed in the condition of OO1 Vh...............................39
4-4 Three focusing conditions of the paired samples were examined. 100ng of IgG
A), 200ng of IgG B), and 2[g of total protein C) were contained in the paired
samples. The banding patterns were analyzed by densitometry D), E), and F). .....40
4-5 The CSF and matched serum samples of six normal dogs were examined by
IEF-immunoblotting ..... .................... .................... ...............41
4-6 The CSF and matched serum samples of six dogs with GSDM were examined
by IEF-immunoblotting. Oligoclonal additional bands (arrow) were observed in
four cases................................... .................................. ..........41
4-7 The band intensity of GSDM 6 was represented by optical density. Three
additional peaks (arrow ) w ere observed............................................................... 42
5-1 The concentration of IgG in lumbar CSF (mg/ml).................................................47
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY:
CEREBROSPINAL FLUID ANALYSIS IN A SPONTANEOUS CANINE MODEL OF
Chair: Roger M. Clemmons
Major Department: Veterinary Medicine
To evaluate the pathological significance of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in
degenerative myelopathy (DM) of the German shepherd dog (GSD), Myelin Basic
Protein (MBP) levels, anti-MBP antibody, oligoclonal band pattern, and IgG index were
The neurodegenerative diseases, primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS)
and German shepherd degenerative myelopathy (GSDM), appear to be similar in nature.
Both are related to an immune dysfunction, both occur later in life and both are
progressive spinal cord diseases once they begin. Based upon the hypothesis that GSDM
and PPMS are closely related, the purpose of this thesis is to further our understanding of
the relationship between these diseases by evaluating possible CSF protein changes. MBP
levels were elevated in the CSF of DM patients [3.43 + 0.45 ng/ml (sem)]. In contrast, the
anti-MBP antibody was not detected in the ELISA. Oligoclonal band pattern in the CSF
was demonstrated with isoelectric focusing-immunofixation in three of six GSDM (50%).
The IgG index was calculated by comparing serum and CSF IgG to albumin ratios.
In GSDM, although the IgG index was normal [0.42 + 0.17 (sem)], the detection of the
oligoclonal band in the CSF suggested the intrathecal IgG synthesis.
These facts suggest the presence of active demyelinative lesions in the spinal cord
of GSDM and indicate the immune-mediate etiology of GSDM. The age of onset, the
time course, the location of neurologic damage, the type of neurologic pathology and the
CSF change demonstrated in this study the fact that GSDM is analogous to PPMS.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect both man and animals leading to prolonged
disability, lack of productive life and eventually death. Of these diseases, one in man,
primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), and one in dogs, German shepherd
degenerative myelopathy (GSDM), appear to be similar in nature. Both are related to an
immune dysfunction, both occur later in life and both are progressive spinal cord diseases
once they begin. In order to better understand the relationship between these 2 diseases,
the following studies on cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) have been undertaken.
Clinical Significance of PPMS
Primary progressive multiple sclerosis occurs in approximately 10% of all multiple
sclerosis (MS) cases (Montalban 2005; Confavreux and Vukusic 2006). It is estimated
that the prevalence of MS in the US is approximately 13/10,000 people. With a current
population of 295,734,134 people, then approximately 394,312 people have MS and, of
those, approximately 39,431 have PPMS (13/100,000).
Clinical Significance of GSDM
Degenerative myelopathy of German shepherd was first described by Averill in
1973 as a progressive degenerative neurological disorder (Averill 1973). In contrast to
the low incidence (0.19%) of DM in dogs, a high incidence (2.01%) in German shepherd
dog was reported by the recent epidemiologic study. There are currently around
63,916,000 dogs in the US and of those approximately 3,124,568 are German Shepherd
dogs, who represent the forth most popular dog breed of those recognized by the
American Kennel Club. If the incidence of GSDM is 2.01 percent, then there are
currently around 62,804 GSDM patients in the US which is higher than PPMS in human
Clinical Signs of PPMS
Primary Progressive MS is characterized by a gradual progression of spinal cord
disease that may exacerbate but has no remissions (Bashir and Whitaker 1999; Montalban
2005). There may be periods of a leveling off of disease activity and there may be good
and bad days or weeks, as with secondary progressive MS (SPMS). PPMS differs from
Relapsing/Remitting MS (RRMS) and SPMS in that onset is typically in the late thirties
or early forties, there is no sex preference (men are as likely women to develop PPMS),
and initial disease activity is in the spinal cord and not in the brain. Primary Progressive
MS may eventually progress to involve the brain, but brain damage is much less likely
than RRMS or SPMS (Montalban 2005). People with PPMS do not usually develop
cognitive problems (Thompson et al., 2000). Primary Progressive MS is characterized by
a progressive onset of walking difficulties; steadily worsening motor dysfunctions and
increased disability, but with a total lack of distinct inflammatory attacks. Fewer and
smaller cerebral lesions, diffuse spinal cord damage, and axonal loss are the hallmarks of
this form of PPMS. There is continuous progression of deficits and disabilities, which
may quickly level off, or continue over many months and years (Ebers 2004).
As a result of the inflammatory, demyelinating process in the central nervous
system, people with MS can experience a wide variety of symptoms. The most common
symptoms of MS include: fatigue (also called MS lassitude to differentiate it from
tiredness resulting from other causes); problems with walking; bowel and or bladder
disturbances; visual problems; changes in cognitive function, including problems with
memory, attention, and problem-solving; abnormal sensations such as numbness or "pins
and needles"; changes in sexual function; pain; and depression and/or mood swings. Less
common symptoms include: tremor; incoordination; speech and swallowing problems;
and impaired hearing. In addition to the primary symptoms caused by demyelination,
there are other types of problems or complications that can occur as indirect results of the
primary symptoms or the experience of having a chronic illness. Primary Progressive MS
patients show those signs which are related to spinal cord involvement and less from the
effects for brain involvement, including difficulty walking, urinary and fecal
incontinence, pain, and paresthesia (Coyle 2001).
It is important to remember that not every person with MS experiences all of these
symptoms. Some people may experience only one or two of them over the course of the
disease, while others experience quite a few. Symptoms can come and go quite
unpredictably, and no two people experience them in exactly the same way.
Other symptoms of MS in people are the social, vocational and emotional
complications associated with the primary and secondary symptoms (Zabad et al., 2005).
The diagnosis of a chronic illness can be damaging to self-esteem and self-image. A
person who becomes unable to walk or drive may lose his or her livelihood. The strain of
dealing with a chronic neurologic illness may disrupt personal relationships. People with
MS frequently experience emotional changes as well, but it is important to note that
mood swings and depression can occur as primary, secondary, or tertiary symptoms of
the disease (Warren et al., 1982; Pozzilli et al., 2004).
Clinical Signs of GSDM
The age of onset GSDM were reported between 5 and 14 years (Averill 1973;
Braund and Vandevelde 1978; Romatowski 1984; Barclay and Haines 1994; Johnston et
al., 2000). The clinical signs of this disease primary present an ataxia of pelvic limbs
including a proprioceptive function deficit and a signs of hypermetria. The clinical signs
of dogs affected with GSDM were detailed by Averill (Averill 1973). In twenty two dogs,
two dogs (9.0%) presented a conscious propriocaptive deficit in thoracic limbs, while
non-ambulatory status in pelvic limbs were reported in the sixteen dogs (77%); the
patellar reflex was exalted in the all dogs examined. The clinical symptoms lead waxing
and waning course or steadily progressive (Braund and Vandevelde 1978; Clemmons
1992). Pain sensation and urinary, fecal continent are spared until the late phase of the
disease. The severe muscle atrophy of the pelvic limbs is observed simultaneously. The
patient eventually develop forelimb dysfunction and brain stem involvement (Clemmons
1992). However, no cranial nerve deficit was reported in GSDM (Averill 1973).
Pathologic Findings of PPMS
The pathology of MS is thought to be secondary to an immune process directed at
parts of the central nervous system. There are elevations of circulating immune
complexes in MS patients and this appears to result in damage to vascular structures of
the nervous system, presumably due to the concentration of antigens to which the
immune complexes are directed in nervous tissue. It is not know what specific antigens
are involved, but reactivity to myelin basic protein is speculated (Dasgupta et al., 1983;
Dasgupta et al., 1984). Peripherally, the immune response is altered due to the presence
of circulating suppressor cells which seem to be present following exacerbations of
RRMS, but which tend to increase and persist in PPMS (Antel et al., 1979). The typical
response to the immune dysfunction is to develop plaques of demyelination in the
nervous system with increased perivascular lymphocytes in the periphery of the plaques.
However, in PPMS, the onset of changes is much slower and there is an increase in
axonal loss in conjunction with the demyelination, there are fewer reactive cells in the
regions of damage, and inflammatory plaques typical of RRMS are absent (Revesz et al.,
Primary progressive MS is particularly difficult to diagnose, because people do not
experience relapses. The standard criteria for diagnosing MS requires that there are at
least two separate relapses involving different parts of the central nervous system at
different times. MRI scans of people with primary progressive MS are often hard to
interpret because: there are fewer lesions on the brain; it is sometimes difficult to
distinguish MS scars on an MRI scan from other damage that might have been caused by
normal aging; and other neurological conditions can appear similar on scan results
(Montalban 2005). Therefore, a neurologist may recommend a lumbar puncture, which
can help confirm the diagnosis, based upon finding elevated IgG (immunoglobulin G) in
the CSF (Freedman 2004; Freedman et al., 2005).
Pathologic Findings of GSDM
Pathological change of GSDM was previously described. The lesions were
recognized as a vacuolar change with astrogliosis and an oil red O-positive macrophage
in the marginal zone of the white matter, including lateral corticospinal tract,
vestibulospinal tract, and dorsal columns (Averill 1973; Braund and Vandevelde 1978;
Johnston et al., 2000). Although the lesions were disseminated through entire segment in
the spinal cord, thoracolumbar segment was mostly affected. The histological changes in
the spinal cord were not related to osseous dural metaplasia and vertebral spondylosis
grossly observed in aged large breed dog. The distribution and intensity of lesions are not
symmetric. The pathological changes of the neural cells following to Wallian
degeneration were reported by Johnston as a brain lesion of GSDM (Johnston et al.,
2000).The destruction of the dorsal root and nerve cell loss observed in the Clark's
column and inter-neuron regions of the gray matter were reported by Averill (Averill
1973). As a morphologic feature of the axonal loss in the demyelinative lesion, the dying-
back pathology were proposed by Griffiths et al. in other breed dogs with degenerative
myelopathy (Griffiths and Duncan 1975). On the other hand, Braund et al. refuted this
pathological process in dogs with GSDM based on the morphometric study of spinal cord
and peripheral nerve (Braund and Vandevelde 1978).
Clinical Diagnosis of PPMS
There are no laboratory tests, symptoms, or physical findings that can determine if
a person has MS. Furthermore, there are many symptoms of MS that can also be caused
by other diseases. Therefore, the MS diagnosis can only be made by carefully ruling out
all other possibilities.
The long-established criteria for diagnosing MS are: 1) there must be evidence of
two exacerbations, flare ups, or relapses defined clinically as the sudden appearance of an
MS symptoms, which lasts more than 24 hours; 2) the exacerbations must be separated in
temporally and spatially; and 3) there must be no other explanation for these
exacerbations (Rolak 1996). Of course, in PPMS, it is the development of chronic
progressive spinal cord dysfunction without other explanation and the presence of
elevated IgG in CSF.
Over the past 20 years, tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
examination of CSF, and evoked response (EP) testing have played an important role in
the diagnostic process (Bashir and Whitaker 1999; Thompson et al., 2000). In 2001, the
International Panel on the Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis issued a revised set of
diagnostic criteria that have become the world wide standard (McDonald et al., 2001). In
PPMS, the MRI is less helpful and normal MRI cannot rule out a diagnosis of MS. There
are also spots found in healthy individuals, particularly in older persons, which are not
related to any ongoing disease process. A persistent negative MRI study in suspected
RRMS patients is a reason to look for other causes (Dujmovic et al., 2004).
Clinical examinations can look for evidence of the neurologic deficits present
during exacerbations or as part of the progressive disease like PPMS. Tests to evaluate
mental, emotional, and language functions, movement and coordination, vision, balance,
and the functions of the five senses are performed depending upon the type of MS
suspected (Rot and Mesec 2006). History including sex, birthplace, family history, and
age of the person when symptoms first began is also taken into consideration. It is not
usually necessary to do all diagnostic tests for every patient. If, however, a clear-cut
diagnosis cannot be made based on the tests above, additional tests may be ordered.
These include tests of evoked potentials, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood.
Evoked potential tests are recordings of the nervous system's electrical response to
the stimulation of specific sensory pathways (e.g., visual, auditory, general sensory).
Because demyelination results in a slowing of response time, EPs can sometimes provide
evidence of scarring along nerve pathways that is not apparent on a neurologic exam.
Visual evoked potentials are considered the most useful for confirming the RRMS
diagnosis, whereas spinal EPs are more helpful in PPMS (Dujmovic et al., 2004).
Cerebrospinal fluid, sampled by a spinal tap, is tested for levels of certain immune
system proteins (elevated IgG levels) and for the presence of oligoclonal bands of IgG.
Occasionally there are also certain proteins that are the breakdown products of myelin
(myelin basic protein). These findings indicate an abnormal autoimmune response within
the central nervous system, meaning that the body is producing an immune response
against itself. Oligoclonal bands are found in the spinal fluid of about 90-95% of people
with MS, but less in patients with PPMS than in those with RRMS (Freedman 2004).
Oligoclonal bands are present in other diseases as well, however.
Clinical Diagnosis of GSDM
No significance of the clinical diagnosis has been reported. The criteria for the
clinical diagnosis of GSDM were previously described by Clemmons in 1992 (Clemmons
1992). 1) The elevation of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) protein in the lumbar cistern. 2)
The electrophysiological diagnosis is required ruling out the peripheral neuropathy and
muscle abnormality. 3) Spinal cord evoked potential recording may show slight delay of
the conductive velocity of thoracolumbar spinal segment caused by the demyelination. 4)
Significant spinal cord compression and segmental disease, including intervertebral disk
disease and vertebra tumor, are ruled out by myelography (Romatowski 1984;
Clemmons 1992). In asdition, a minor disk protrusion, vertebral spondylosis, and osseous
dural metaplasia are seen as non-clinically related abnormalities. In this decade, advanced
imaging modalities including computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) are applied for the diagnosis of spinal cord disease. The characteristic
aspects of GSDM were described by Jones et al (Jones et al., 2005) in CT-myelography.
In this study, images were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. Spinal stenosis, focal
attenuation of the subarachnoid space, spinal cord deformity, and paraspinal muscle
atrophy were observed in GSDM significantly (Jones et al., 2005). No study of GSDM
based on the MRI diagnosis has been reported at this time because of a small size of the
spinal cord and an artifact related with cardiac, respiratory motion of the anesthetized
Etiology of PPSM
Even though the exact cause of MS remains unknown, a combination of several
factors appears to be involved (Fischman 1982). The scientific theories about the causes
of MS involve immunologic, environmental, genetic, and possibly infectious factors. The
latter appears less likely, but the first 3 factors due appear to work together to create
individual MS risk.
It is now generally accepted that MS involves an autoimmune process directed
parts of the central nervous system (Bitsch et al., 2004). The exact antigen remains
unknown; however, researchers have been able to identify which immune cells are
mounting the attack, some of the factors that cause them to attack, and some of the sites
on which the attacking cells that appear to be attracted to the myelin to begin the
destructive process (Brokstad et al., 1994; O'Connor et al., 2003; Mantegazza et al., 2004;
Grigoriadis and Hadjigeorgiou 2006). The destruction of myelin as well as damage to the
nerve fibers themselves, cause the nerve impulses to be slowed or halted and produce the
symptoms of MS.
Migration patterns and epidemiologic studies have shown that the location at
puberty seems to set the risk of developing MS, suggesting that exposure to some
environmental agent around puberty may predispose a person to develop MS later on.
Multiple Sclerosis is known to occur more frequently in areas that are farther from the
equator. Some scientists think the reason may have something to do with vitamin D,
which is thought to have a beneficial impact on immune function and may help protect
against autoimmune diseases like MS.
A number of childhood viruses, bacteria and other microbes are known to cause
demyelination and inflammation. It is possible that a virus or other infectious agent is the
triggering factor in MS. More than a dozen viruses and bacteria, including measles,
canine distemper, human herpes virus-6, Epstein-Barr, and Chlamydia pneumonia have
been or are being investigated to determine if they are involved in the development of
MS, but as yet none has been definitively proven to trigger MS (Franciotta et al., 2005;
Grigoriadis and Hadjigeorgiou 2006; Rima and Duprex 2006).
Multiple sclerosis is not an inherited disease in the strict sense, but there are certain
genetic markers that appear to be common in MS patients, including PPMS patients.
Having a relative such as a parent or sibling with MS increases an individual's risk of
developing the disease several-fold above the risk for the general population. Common
genetic factors have also been found in some families where there is more than one
person with MS. It appears that MS develops when a person is born with a genetic
predisposition and reacts to some environmental agent that triggers an autoimmune
response eventually leading to MS (Haegert and Marrosu 1994).
Etiology of GSDM
The etiology and pathogenesis of GSDM are certainly unknown. The deficit of the
nutritional factor including Vitamin B 12 and Vitamin E were suggested by Williams et
al. In this study, the small intestinal mal-absorption of the vitamins were suspected as a
cause of lower concentration of these vitamins in serum (Harding et al., 1989; Salvadori
et al., 2003). Besides, an abnormal vitamin E transport resulting from an impaired
function of the hepatic tocopherol binding protein were suggested by Traber et al. in
GSDM (Traber et al., 1993). However, a high concentration of the alpha-tocopherol in
serum of GSDM were reported by Johnston et al in later study (Johnston et al., 2001).
Furthermore, no significant difference were observed between GSDM and healthy
control group, based on the sequence comparison of the nucleotide, amino acids, and the
mRNA expression levels of canine alpha-tocopherol (Fechner et al., 2003). Therefore, the
nutritional pathogenesis of GSDM was refuted. On the other hand, the immune-mediated
pathogenesis of GSDM was suggested by Waxman et al. (Waxman et al., 1980; Waxman
et al., 1980). In this study, a depression of T cell response to the mitogen, including
concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin P, were reported in peripheral blood of GSDM;
and a presence of the activated suppressor cell in the peripheral blood was proposing to
result in a depression of T cell response (Waxman et al., 1980; Waxman, et al., 1980). In
addition, the deposition of IgG and C3 to the demyelinative lesions of the spinal cord was
described by Barclay et al (Barclay and Haines 1994). Thus, immune-mediated
pathogenesis of GSDM was also supported by immunohisto-chemical findings.
Genetic Significance of GSDM Related to PPMS
In the recent research, the genetic similarity of GSDM with primary progressive
multiple sclerosis (PPMS) were suggested based on DNA evidence. PPMS has been
found to be genetic in nature and linked to the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) at the
DRB1 region (McDonnell et al., 1999). Analysis of the DLA-DRB1 was performed using
polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and
direct sequencing. RFLP analysis of the 285bp PCR product produced identical results in
all dogs tested suggesting them to be homozygous for DLA-DRB 1 allele* 1101. Further
analysis of the PCR product by sequencing confirmed the presence of DLA-DRB1
* 1101, and revealed a homozygous point located at hypervariable region 2 (HVR2) of the
DLA-DRB 1 allele* 1101 of GSD with DM (Clemmons 2006). Healthy GSD were found
to be heterozygous at this point suggesting the homozygous point to be unique in DM.
The myelin basic protein (MBP) allele consisting of a 70 bp tandem repeat (TGGA)
deletion was found in 88% of DM dogs tested and only in 57% of healthy GSD
(Clemmons 2006). This deletion correlates to the same deletion found in a population of
multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in Finland (Tienari et al., 1994; Tienari et al., 1998).We
do not find changes in the HFE, TGF31 region, but there are alternation in the apoE and
IL4R regions. The former is thought to be related to RRMS, while the later 2 are
associated with PPMS (McDonnell et al., 2000; Ramsaransing et al., 2005; Ristic et al.,
2005). Clearly, these areas in people are only associated with, but not necessarily
diagnostic of the disease; but we do find similar changes in the GSDM patients. Using
random repeat primers from Amersham, a number of changes in DNA of dogs with
GSDM have been found which have not completely characterized. These changes are
reproducible and do fit the patients who we can diagnose clinically as having DM by
available neurologic tests. So, looking for genetic changes which have been found in MS
patients in dogs with GSDM leads to a number of findings that support the hypothesis
that GSDM is analogous to PPMS.
Purpose of Thesis Research
Based upon the hypothesis that GSDM and PPMS are closely related, the purpose
of this thesis is to further our understanding of the relationship between these diseases by
evaluating possible CSF protein changes. To that end, the project will specifically
evaluate levels and nature of IgG in CSF of normal and GSDM patients and evaluate
MBP concentrations in CSF of normal and GSDM patients. We expect that changes in
GSDM will parallel PPMS patients and further advance GSDM as an animal model of
MEASUREMENT OF MYELIN BASIC PROTEIN IN THE CEREBROSPINAL
FLUID OF DOGS WITH DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY
CSF analysis has been established as a diagnostic method in the case of
neurological disorders. Total protein determination, cell count, leukocyte differentiation,
and antigen or antibody of the infectious disease are routinely used for the clinical
diagnosis in veterinary medicine (Vandevelde and Spano 1977; Chrisman 1992; Tipold et
al., 1993). The evaluation of CSF gives information of blood-brain barrier (BBB)
integrity and the existence of inflammation/infection in the central nervous system
(CNS). In human medicine, in Alzheimer disease, a number of protein biomarkers of the
CSF have been used to confirm the clinical diagnosis (Blennow 2004).
Myelin basic protein (MBP) is a protein restricted to the nervous system. This
protein composes 30 % of total protein in the myelin sheath and is encoded by a single
gene normally expressed by oligodendrocytes. The isoforms of molecular weight 21.5kD,
18.5 kD and 14.5kD were reported in mammals; and the 170 amino acid residue
dominate is contained in adult human CNS myelin (Whitaker 1978). The presence of
MBP in CSF was reported in several investigations of active demyelinative disorders and
CNS injury accompanied by myelin damage (Whitaker et al., 1980; Whitaker 1998). The
elevation of MBP in CSF is not disease specific, but signifies the existence of
demyelinative lesions in CNS. Therefore, MBP has been used for a disease marker of
demyelinative CNS disorders (Ohta et al., 2000; Lim et al., 2005).
A chronic demyelinative disorder, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), was previously
described in German shepherd dogs (GSDM) (Averill 1973; Clemmons 1992). The
clinical signs of GSDM commonly arise at the age of 5 to 7 years with a slowly
progressive course of six month to one year. Although histological findings reveal the
loss of myelin sheath and axon in white matter, the etiology and pathogenesis of GSDM
have been unknown. Clinical pathologic findings are usually normal except for an
elevated CSF protein in the lumbar cistern. Therefore, the diagnosis of GSDM is usually
made by ruling out other diseases affecting the spinal cord (Clemmons 1992).
The objective of this study was to evaluate a method for the determination of MBP
concentrations in the CSF of dogs with German shepherd degenerative myelopathy using
a human MBP ELISA based assay.
Materials and Methods
Nine German Shepherd Dogs, ranging from 5 years 3 months to 12 years in age
(median 8 years 10 months) were included in this study. These dogs were presented to the
Neurology service at the Veterinary Medical Center of the College of Veterinary
Medicine, University of Florida and clinically diagnosed as GSDM based on the criteria
previously described (Clemmons 1992). Normal CSF samples were collected from 8
mongrel canine cadaver euthanized at the local animal shelter. These samples were
collected immediately after euthanasia. 9 DM dogs were administrated general anesthesia
during the CSF collection. CSF was sampled from the cisterna magna and lumbar cistern
by 18G spinal needle. All CSF samples were centrifuged at 14,000 rpm for 10 minutes
and frozen at -200C until used. Brain tissues were obtained from canine cadavers. The use
of these animals was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of
the University of Florida (IACUC protocol number E335).
Canine MBP was extracted by organic concentration (Maatta et al., 1997). Frozen
canine brain was homogenized in chloroform and separated by centrifugation. Collected
chloroform was washed and methanol was added. Following brief mixture, the acidic
aqueous phase was collected by adding 1M HC1 and desalted by Sepharose column (PD-
10 desalting column, Amersham Biosciences Corporation, Piscataway, NJ) The
concentration of 50g/ml of MBP was isolated.
In order to assess the cross-reactivity of ELISA assay, the reactivity of anti-human
MBP antibody to canine MBP was first tested with Western blotting. Bovine MBP
(Myelin basic protein from bovine brain, Sigma, St. Louis, MS) was used as a molecular
weight control. Isolated canine MBP was separated in 15 % SDS- polyacrylamide gels
and transferred to nitrocellulose membranes (Nitrocellulose membrane, Bio-Rad
Laboratories, Inc. Hercules, CA) followed by the blocking with TBS containing 3% BSA
and 0.1% Tween20 at 40C overnight. Membranes were, then, incubated with biotin
conjugated anti-human MBP antibody (Goat anti-human MBP polyclonal antibody,
Diagnostic Systems Laboratories, Inc, Webster, TX) (1:15,000) overnight at 40C. After
washing with TTBS (0.05% Tween20 in TBS), the membranes were incubated with
horse-radish peroxidase (HPR) conjugated streptavidin for 1 hour at RT. The membranes
were washed three times in TTBS and developed in 4CN substrate.
The concentration of MBP in CSF was determined with human MBP ELISA
(Active MBP ELISA, Diagnostic Systems Laboratories, Inc, Webster, TX) following
manufacture's instruction. Human MBP was employed to produce the standard curve and
served as a detection control. The absorbance at 450nm was recorded by a microplate
reader (EL340 Biokinetics Reader, Bio-Tek Instruments, Winooski, VT). Coefficient
variance (CV) was calculated to evaluate the reproducibility of the assay.
The amounts of protein in the CSF were determined by Bradford protein assay kit
(Bio-Rad Protein assay, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. Hercules, CA,).
The reference range of total protein in the CSF was described as the mean values of
the normal group with 95% confidence intervals. Turkey-Kramer HSD was used for all
pair's comparison. P<0.05 was considered statistically significant. The results are given
as mean and SEM.
The age, sex, duration of the clinical signs, nuclear cell counts, and total protein
concentrations in the CSF were summarized in table 2-1. The age of dogs with GSDM
were ranged between 5 years 3 months and 12 years (median 8 years 10 month) and male
dogs were likely more affected than female in the current study. The duration of the
clinical symptoms was between 5 weeks and 1 year 3 months. The numbers of nuclear
cell in the CSF were within the reference range (>5 cells/pl) except for the CSF obtained
from lumbar cistern of dog No. 7. The mean value of total protein concentrations of the
CSF obtained from lumber cistern were significantly elevated in GSDM (Figure 2-1).
A result of Western blotting was shown in figure. 2-2. Cross reactivity of anti-
human MBP antibody to isolated canine MBP was proven. A band visible in Coomassie
staining reacted with the polyclonal anti-human MBP anti-body used in the human MBP
ELISA, showing an expected molecular site of around 18.5kDa.
MBP concentration of canine CSF samples was estimated based on the standard
curve. CSF samples obtained from the cisterna magna of GSDM were higher (1.38+2.06)
than that of normal dogs (0.470.06), although no significance was observed in these two
groups. CSF from lumber cistern of GSDM dogs presented significantly higher
concentration of MBP (3.431.54) than that of normal control groups (0.580.11).
(Figure 2-4) The reproducibility was confirmed by a detection control in each assay
The application of the commercial human MBP ELISA for canine CSF was first
evaluated in this study. MBP isolated from canine brain tissue sufficiently reacted with
the polyclonal anti-human MBP antibody used in the MBP ELISA. A dose dependent
reaction was observed in the ELISA as well (Figure 2-3). Therefore, we suggest that the
human MBP ELISA based assay is sufficiently sensitive and specific enough to
determine the concentration of MBP in canine CSF. Immunochemical cross-reactivity of
MBP among various species was also previously described (Whitaker 1978).
Nine German shepherd dog patients with chronic symptoms of upper-motor neuron
hind limbs ataxia were subjected in this study. Spinal cord compression was ruled out by
myelography in all cases. In addition, no abnormal muscle discharge and no peripheral
nerve conductive delay were observed in the electrophysiology. In the routine CSF
examination, one dog had pleocytosis in the CSF collected from the lumbar cistern
(17cells/dl; reference range <5 cells/dl). From the red blood cell count and cell
differentiation, however, slight blood contamination was suspected in this case. An
elevation of total protein was observed in three CSF samples obtained from the lumbar
cistern (49.5, 56.6, and 52.3mg/ml; reference range <45mg/ml). No other abnormality
was observed in the CSF examination. Hence, all dogs were exclusively diagnosed with a
degenerative myelopathy without histological confirmation. Eight canine cadavers were
employed as a normal group. The CSF samples were collected immediately after
euthanasia. No elevation of the total protein was observed in normal group CSF.
Demyelination has been recognized as one of the most characteristic features in
GSDM. However, the diagnosis is usually made by ruling out other diseases affecting
spinal cord and no direct information concerning the myelin sheath has been reported.
In human, MBP has been used as a biochemical marker of myelin damage (Alling
et al., 1980; Whitaker et al., 1980; Whitaker 1998). The elevation of MBP in the CSF is
observed following the damage of the myelin sheath in various neurological diseases and
becomes undetectable within 10 to 14 days after myelin damage (Ohta et al., 2000; Lim
et al., 2005). As we hypothesized, significantly increased concentration of MBP were
observed in CSF collected from the lumbar cistern of GSDM, but not in the cisterna
magna. It suggests the presence of an active demyelinative lesion restricted to the spinal
column. Therefore, we propose that the elevation of MBP in CSF is direct evidence of
active demyelination in GSDM. An immune-mediated reaction was previously reported
as an etiologic factor of demyelinative lesions in GSDM (Waxman et al., 1980; Waxman
et al., 1980; Barclay and Haines 1994). It may cause a chronic active demyelination in
this disease. Although no other diseases were tested in this study, this finding may be
different with chronic non-active spinal cord disorders such as intervertebral disk
In small animal medicine, the concentrations of MBP in CSF have been measured
by a canine MBP coated ELISA assay using experimental canine distemper virus (CDV)
infection; and the correlation between MBP levels and histological findings was reported
(Summers et al., 1987). In the clinical diagnosis, however, it is not pragmatic to develop
canine derived ELISA for the laboratory test. Moreover, no other clinical studies
describe MBP concentration in CSF within canine disease groups. In the current study,
we presented a validation of the human MBP ELISA to determine the MBP concentration
in canine CSF and suggested the presence of an active demyelinative lesion in GSDM. In
order to elucidate the diagnostic significance of MBP further studies such as the analysis
in other differential neurological disorders would be recommended.
Table 2-1. Clinical observations and CSF appearances
Dog age sex CM CM* LC LC# Duration of CM LC
NC protein NC protein clinical sign MBP MBP
1 8yl0m M 1 33.3 0 42.6 5 weeks 6.86 5.95
2 5y3m M 0 11.4 0 29.5 3 months 0.68 3.33
3 8y3m M 3 22.1 17 49.5 4 months 0.88 1.77
4 11y3m sF 0 18.8 0 40.5 15months 0.38 5.94
5 10y 7m cM 1 16.5 N/A 28.4 6 months 0.81 3.36
6 6y6m sF 0 21.8 2 56.6 4 month 0.6 3.36
7 12y cM 1 17.6 0 41.6 12 months 0.73 1.81
8 9y6m sF 0 11.4 0 36.3 7 months 0.81 2.84
9 5y 6m cM 3 24.7 3 52.3 2 months 0.67 2.59
CM = cisterna magna; LC = lumber cistern; NC = nuclear cell count; MBP = myelin
basic protein; reference range, < 32.4 mg/dl, #< 42.5mg/dl
GSDM CM GSDM LC Normal Normal
GSDM = German Shepherd degenerative myelopathy
CM = cisterna magna, LC = lumber cistern
* Significantly different. p<.01.
* Significantly different. p<.05.
Figure 2-1. Medians and ranges of total protein concentration (mg/ml) in the CSF.
Lane 2, Bovine MBP (18.5KDa)
Lane 3, Isolated canine MBP
Figure 2-2. The cross-reactivity of the anti-human MBP (myelin basic protein) to the
canine MBP was demonstrated by immunoblotting.
0.6 R2 = 0.9243 R2 = 0.9756
0.3 Human MBP
0 A Canine MBP
0 25 50
MBP concentration (ng/ml)
MBP = myelin basic protein, O.D. = optical density
Figure 2-3. Sensitivity (O.D.) of the isolated canine MBP in the human MBP ELISA.
GSDM CM GSDM LC Normal CM' Normal LC
CM = cisterna magna, LC = lumber cistern.
* Significantly different. p<.01.
Figure 2-4. Medians and ranges of the MBP concentration (ng/ml) in the cerebrospinal
fluid (CSF) of 9German shepherd degenerative myelopathy (GSDM) and
ANTI-MBP ANTIBODY DETECTION IN THE CSF WITH GSDM
As an immunodominant T cell antigen, the injection of MBP into experimental
animals induces similar demyelinative lesion to multiple sclerosis (Kies et al., 1965). In
human, therefore, the presence of the anti-MBP antibody has been suggested as a cause
of the immune-mediated reaction in demyelinative neurological disorders. However, the
results of reports regarding the autoantibody against MBP in the CSF of MS patients has
varied widely (Garcia-Merino et al., 1986; Reindl et al., 1999; Chamczuk et al., 2002;
Berger et al., 2003; O'Connor et al., 2003).
In veterinary literature, Vandevelde et al. reported the presence of the antibody
against MBP in the serum and CSF of dogs with canine distemper encephalitis
(Vandevelde et al., 1982). They proposed that the humoral immunological reaction
caused the demyelinative lesions in canine distemper virus infection.
In GSDM, an immune-mediated reaction to the CNS has been suspected as an
etiology of the demyelinative lesions and the deposition of the IgG and complement in
the lesions were reported (Waxman et al., 1980; Waxman et al., 1980; Barclay and
Haines 1994). However, no direct evidence supporting the presence of autoantibody has
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the presence of anti-MBP
autoantibody in canine CSF for the evaluation of autoimmune mediated pathoetiology in
Materials and Methods
Sample population and preparation applied to this study were described in chapter
2. The CSF obtained from the lumbar cistern was employed.
In order to assess the presence of the anti-MBP antibody in canine CSF, we first
developed an ELISA based assay. In brief, Microtiter Plates (MaxiSorpTM, Nunc,
Rochester, NY) were coated with 100ul of 5ug/ml solution of bovine MBP in 50mM
carbonate/bicarbonate buffer pH 9.6. The plate was incubated overnight at 4 C. After
coating, the wells were washed three times with 50mM Tris-Buffered Saline (TBS), and
then blocked with 50mM TBS containing 1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) for one hour
at room temperature. After washing, 100ul of the CSF samples were applied to the wells.
For the standard curve creation, the anti-human MBP antibody (monoclonal mouse anti-
Myelin basic protein, Hytest ltd, Turku, Finrand) diluted to 16.4, 32.81, 65.63, 131.25,
and 262.5ng/ml in distilled water were applied. The plate was incubated for one hour at
room temperature and washed five times, and reacted with ALP-conjugated anti-Dog IgG
diluted 1:30,000 or ALP conjugated anti-mouse IgG diluted 1:30,000 for one hour at
room temperature. After washes five times, the plate was developed with p-NPP substrate
and quantitated by plate reader at 405nm.
Monoclonal anti-human MBP antibodies used for the standard curve were
sufficiently reacted in the ELISA (Figure 3-1). However, no significant reaction was
observed in canine CSF from normal dogs and dogs diagnosed GSDM (Figure 3-2).
In the current study, although we hypothesized the presence of the autoantibody
against the myelin sheath in the CSF of GSDM, no anti-MBP antibody was detected.
However, it was unfeasible to suggest the inexistence of autoantibody in the CSF due to
the lack of the precise positive control. For the immunological detection of the
autoantibody, the bovine MBP was used as a coating antigen in our study. In contrast to
the anti-human MBP antibody used for the standard curve, the autoantibody in canine
CSF may not react with bovine MBP. Moreover, in direct ELISA based assay, the
antigen is immobilized on the plastic plate. It may result in the loss of epitopes detected
by the antibodies. Therefore, the autoantibody against MBP in canine CSF may be
undetectable in this method if it presented in dogs with GSDM. Also, it may be possible
to detect the anti-MBP antibody in an ELISA and immunoblotting with precise canine
MBP as a test antigen.
In order to elucidate the immune-mediated etiology of GSDM, a further study
would be recommended. In multiple sclerosis, other proteins including myelin
oligodedrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), myelin associated glycoprotein (MAG), and
proteolipid protein (PLP) have been predicted as a target antigen of an autoantibody
(Reindl et al., 1999; O'Connor et al., 2003).
Finally, the etiology of GSDM was not assessed in the present study because of a
negative result in the anti-MBP antibody assay. In addition to the improvement of the
methodology for immune-detection, the other etiologic approach such as genetic DNA
analysis is recommended in the future study.
R2 = 0.9847
concentration ofanti-MBP antibody (ng/ml)
O.D. = optical density, MBP = myelin basic protein
Figure 3-1. Standard curve of monoclonal anti-human MBP antibody in the ELISA
Figure 3-2. The concentrations of the anti-MBP (O.D.) antibody in canine CSF
OLIGOCLONAL BAND DETECTION IN THE CEREBROSPINAL FLUID OF DOGS
WITH DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY
German shepherd degenerative myelopathy (GSDM) is a progressive neurological
disorder characterized by widespread demyelination of the spinal cord with the
thoracolumbar segment being the most frequently and severely affected area (Averill
1973; Braund and Vandevelde 1978). The clinical signs of this disease are primarily
represented by pelvic limbs ataxia including a conscious proprioceptive deficit and signs
of hypermetria (Clemmons 1992). Clinical examinations are normal except for an
elevated protein level in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected from the lumbar cistern
(Clemmons 1992). Therefore, the diagnosis of GSDM is usually made by ruling out other
disorders affecting the spinal cord. As a cause of demyelinated lesions in the central
nervous system (CNS), immune-mediated reactions have been suspected from previous
immunological and genetic studies of GSDM (Waxman et al., 1980; Waxman et al.,
1980; Barclay and Haines 1994; Clemmons 2006).
In order to evaluate the immune-mediated etiology of the CNS, determination of
intrathecal IgG synthesis plays a central role (Correale et al., 2002). Detection of
oligoclonal bands in CSF, as a qualitative analysis of IgG, was recently established as a
reliable means to demonstrate intrathecal IgG synthesis. Detection of the presence of
oligoclonal IgG by use of isoelectric focusing (IEF) and a sensitive immunodetection
method has been proposed as the "golden standard" diagnostic procedure in multiple
sclerosis in humans (Andersson et al., 1994; Freedman et al., 2005).
The presence of oligoclonal IgG bands analyzed by IEF-immunofixation in canine
CSF was previously reported in two individual studies (Callegari 2002; Ruaux 2003).
Oligoclonal IgG banding in CSF with viral meningioencephalitis and suspicious DM was
demonstrated by Callegari et al. Ruaux et al. reported that oligoclonal bands were
detected in definitive, suspicious GSDM.
The Protean IEF cellTM was designed for the IEF dimension of two-dimensional
electrophoresis. ReadyStripTM IPG strips, as application gels for the Protean IEF cellTM,
are high-purity IPG monomers and thoroughly tested for quality and reproducibility.
These strips are supported by a plastic film to facilitate simple manipulation and are
characterized by a stable various pH range, stringent gel length tolerances of +2 mm for
consistent pi separations.
Theoretically, high reproducible and quality banding patterns are expected for
oligoclonal banding detection in IEF with the Protean IEF cellTM and ReadyStripTM IPG
strips. To our knowledge, however, no study employing this instrument for oligoclonal
detection has been reported.
The purpose of this study was to develop a new application of the Protean IEF
cellTM and ReadyStrip IPG stripTM instrument for oligoclonal IgG banding detection in
the canine CSF.
Materials and Methods
Optimization of the IEF Protocol
In order to adapt the Protean IEF cellTM and ReadyStripTM for the analysis of canine
serum and CSF, we first tested different running conditions and sample volume sizes to
develop the optimal protocol that yielded adequate separation and detection of IgG.
Tested parameters were 1) amounts of IgG in CSF, 2) conditions for the final focusing
step, 3) pH ranges of immobilized pH gradient strips, and 4) conditions of paired
CSF/serum samples for the detection of oligoclonal bands.
Serum and lumbar CSF samples were collected from an 1 year old, female Boxer
with a clinical diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy and used for IEF optimization. The
diagnostic criteria have been described elsewhere (Clemmons 1992). CSF was
centrifuged at 14,000 rpm for 10 min and the supernatant was collected. Serum and CSF
were frozen until IEF was performed. Collection of serum and CSF samples from animals
included in this study was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
of the University of Florida (IACUC protocol number E335).
General procedures for IEF: General procedures for IEF were based on
manufacture's instruction for two-dimensional electrophoresis. Serum and CSF samples
were diluted in ultra-pure deionized water (NANOpure DiamondTM, Barnstead, Dubuque,
IA). Immobilized pH gradient strips (ReadyStripTM IPG strip, Bio-Rad Laboratories,
Inc. Hercules, CA) were rehydrated with diluted samples in focusing buffer containing
8M urea, 2% CHAPS, 0.2% carrier ampholytes (pH 3-10 or pH 5-8), 15mM DTT (Bio-
Rad Laboratories, Inc. Hercules, CA), and bromophenol blue at 50V for 12 hrs. After the
rehydration step, strips were subjected to sequential focusing steps. These steps were
composed of the conditioning step (250V 20 min), voltage ramping step (4,000V 2hr),
and final focusing step (4,000V, 1,000Vhrs or 10,000Vhrs current limit 50uA) (Choe and
After IEF, the strips were placed on dry filter papers with the gel side facing up to
blot an excess mineral oil used during the IEF protocol. The strips were further blotted
with distilled water-wetted filter papers to completely remove the mineral oil. The strips
were press-blotted onto a nitrocellulose membrane (0.45[jm, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.
Hercules, CA) through 5 sheets of filter papers soaked with Tris-buffered saline (TBS)
under a 2 kg weight for 1 hr at room temperature (RT). The membrane was blocked in
3% bovine serum albumin (BSA) in TBS containing 0.01% Tween 20 (T-TBS) for 1 hr
(RT). Incubation of the membrane with alkaline phosphatase-conjugated rabbit anti-dog
IgG (1:10,000, Alkaline phosphatase-conjugated AffiniPure Goat Anti-Mouse IgG
(H+L), Jackson immuoresearch Laboratory, Inc. West grove, PA) was performed
overnight at RT. The membranes were then washed in T-TBS twice. Finally, the
membranes were developed in a solution containing nitro blue tetrazolium and bromo-
coloroindoleyl phosphate in 100mM Tris-HC1, 50mM MgC12, 100mM NaC1, pH9.5
(Sadaba et al., 2004). Digital images of the membranes were taken by a molecular
imager (Fluor-S MultiimagerTM, Bio-Rad Laboratories). Visualization of IgG band
patterns was performed by using imaging analysis computer software (Quantity one 1-D
analysis softwareTM, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. Hercules, CA,).
Determination of the optimal IgG amount in CSF: To determine the optimal
amount of IgG in the CSF sample that yields clear detection of IgG banding patterns by
IEF, we tested CSF samples containing three different amounts of IgG (50ng, 100ng,
200ng). The amount of IgG in the CSF sample was determined by a commercially
available IgG quantification kit (Dog IgG ELISA Quantization Kit, Bethyl, Inc.
Montgomery, TX) according to manufacture's instruction. The optical density was
recorded at 450nm by use of a microplate reader (EL340 Biokinetics Reader, Bio-Tek
Instruments, Winooski, VT). IEF was performed as described above with a pH 3-10
ReadyStripTM IPG strip. The condition for the final focusing step was 4,000V with
Determination of the optimal condition for the final focusing step: Two different
final focusing conditions were tested; 4,000V with 1,000Vhrs and 4,000V with
10,000Vhrs. IEF was performed as described above with a pH 3-10 ReadyStripTM IPG
strip. The amount of IgG in the sample was 100ng.
Determination of the optimal pH gradient of ReadyStripTM IPG strip: Two
immobilized pH gradient strips were tested; one with a broad pH range (pH 3-10) and the
other with a narrow pH range (pH 5-8). IEF was performed as described above. The
condition for the final focusing step was 4,000V with 10,000Vhrs, and the amount of IgG
in the sample was 100ng.
Determination of the optimal sample conditions for the detection of oligoclonal
bands: Paired serum/CSF samples were normalized based either on their protein or IgG
content. Three different sample conditions were tested; paired samples were normalized
to contain either 2[tg protein or 100ng IgG or 200ng IgG. The amounts of protein in
samples were determined by Bradford protein assay kit (Bio-Rad Protein assay, Bio-Rad
Laboratories, Inc. Hercules, CA,). The condition for the final focusing step was 4,000V
with 10,000Vhrs, and a pH 3-10 ReadyStripTM IPG strip was used.
Detection of Oligoclonal Bands in GSDM Patients
With the use of the optimized protocol, we then tested whether oligoclonal bands
can be detected in paired serum/CSF samples from GSDM patients. Six German
shepherd dogs, ranging from 5 years 6 months to 12 years in age (median 9 years 6
months and 10 years 7 months) were included (Table 4-1). These dogs were diagnosed as
GSDM based on the previously described criteria (Clemmons 1992). Under general
anesthesia, CSF was collected from the lumbar cistern by use of anl8G spinal needle.
Peripheral blood was collected and serum separated. CSF and serum samples were also
collected from 6 mongrel canine cadavers obtained from a local animal shelter which
served as normal control samples. These samples were collected immediately after
euthanasia. CSF samples were collected from the cisterna magna in 2 dogs and from the
lumbar cistern in 4 dogs. CSF and serum samples were subjected to IEF with the optimal
running and sample conditions determined as described. IgG banding patterns in the
paired CSF/serum samples were visually evaluated after immunoblotting of the strips and
with the aid of densitometric analyses. The criterion for oligoclonal bands is the
demonstration at least two more bands in CSF but not present in serum (Correale et al.,
Optimization of the IEF Protocol
To obtain reproducible results with IEF for the analysis of canine CSF, we first
determined the optimal IgG content in the CSF samples. The results revealed that three
CSF samples with different IgG contents (50ng, 100ng, 200ng) produced similar banding
patterns (Fig 4-1 A). As expected, the intensities of the detected bands on membranes
were proportional to the loaded IgG contents. Densitometric analysis further confirmed
successively increased intensities of the detected bands in the three samples while
maintaining their banding patterns (Fig 4-1 B). The optimal IgG content in the CSF
sample was determined to be 100ng in which individual bands were readily appreciated.
In contrast, the banding pattern was difficult to detect in the CSF sample containing a
lower IgG content (50ng) because of insufficient signals obtained after immunoblotting.
In the CSF sample with a higher IgG content (200ng), a high background tended to
obscure individual bands, particularly at the basic region of the strip.
The comparison of two different conditions for the final focusing step was
performed with a broad pH strip (pH 3-10) on a CSF sample containing 100ng of IgG.
When a lower voltage (1,000Vhr) was applied to the sample, only a polyclonal pattern
was observed at the basic region of the strip (Fig 4-2 A right side and B pink line). In
contrast, with a higher voltage (10,000Vhr), a clear banding pattern was observed (Fig 4-
2 A life side and B blue line); therefore, a high voltage was required for the final focusing
The results of the comparison of two immobilized strips with different pH ranges
showed the broad pH range strip (pH 3-10) to be more suitable for CSF analysis.
Although the number of detected bands was higher with the narrow pH range strip (pH 5-
8), bands focused on the basic regions of the strip were not adequately resolved, resulting
in a thick intense band at the edge of the membrane (Fig 4-3 A right and B pink line).
With the broad pH strip (pH 3-10), individual bands were more evenly separated, and it
was easier to interpret the overall banding pattern (Fig 4-3 A left and B blue line).
Detection of oligoclonal bands is based on comparison of IgG banding patterns
present in paired serum and CSF samples. This comparison requires the paired samples to
be normalized based either on their protein or IgG content. The results showed that when
paired samples contained 100ng of IgG, a clear separation of IgG was achieved after
immunoblotting (Fig 4-4 A). Paired samples containing 200ng IgG also resulted in
separation of IgG clones, but individual bands were not clearly focused due to
overloading of IgG (Fig 4-4 C). When paired samples contained 2ig of total, although
the CSF sample showed a clear IgG banding pattern, a high background observed in the
serum precluded comparison of banding patterns between the paired samples (Fig 4-4 E).
The results of densitometric analyses also supported that normalizing paired CSF/serum
samples to 100ng IgG allows reliable comparison of IgG banding patterns between CSF
and serum (Fig 4-4 B, D, F).
Detection of Oligoclonal Bands in GSDM Patients
Analyses of paired CSF/serum samples from GSDM patients and normal controls
were performed with the optimized IEF protocol. Specifically, we normalized paired
samples to 100ng IgG, and the samples were focused on broad pH range ReadyStripTM
IPG strips with the final focusing condition of 4,000V, 10,000Vhr. We found that normal
control samples showed similar IgG patterns in paired CSF/serum samples (Fig 4-5). In 2
normal control samples, an additional IgG band was observed in CSF which was focused
on the acidic region of the strip. In contrast, 4 of 6 paired samples from GSDM patients
showed additional IgG bands in CSF (Fig 4-6 and Fig 4-7). Three of these patients
showed more than 2 additional bands in CSF (2 additional bands in 2 patients and 3
additional bands in 1 patient), thus considered to have oligoclonal bands. These
additional bands tended to be located randomly on the pH gradients of the strips.
Optimization of the IEF Protocol
In the current study, we accommodated the Protean IEF cellTM with the oligoclonal
band detection. For setting up the construction of reagents and the basic IEF
programming, manufacture's instruction and previous studies for serum application were
referred (Choe and Lee 2000).
In order to evaluate the reproducibility and sensitivity of the IEF method, the same
samples obtained from a dog with DM were consistently used through the entire study.
As we expected, several banding intensity were demonstrated in paired CSF/serum
To evaluate the sensitivity of the methods, the optimal IgG content in CSF samples
was first tested. Similar banding patterns of IgG were observed in all three samples with a
volume dependent manner. This suggested that our methods were sufficiently sensitive to
detect oligoclonal bands in CSF samples containing IgG as little as 100ng. The high
sensitivity of the methods allowed testing of a small volume of CSF samples with low
levels of IgG. Furthermore, since no difference of the banding pattern was observed
among the tested samples, this technique was thought to be highly reproducible.
The adequate focusing time for IgG separation was evaluated. For minimizing the
solubility problem of the target protein, the strips were rehydrated for twelve hours prior
to the focusing phase. Two different focusing conditions (1000Vh, 10000Vh) were
examined in our study. The time and current dependent of IgG migration was observed in
IEF with the Protean IEF cellTM. The theory of the IgG migration in the IEF gels was
previously described (Keir et al., 1990; Walker 1994). Under no equilibrium procedure in
the previous study (Keir et al., 1990), the formations of the banding pattern were
demonstrated before the IgG migration. With rehydration step, however, proteins are
equilibrated over entire gels and migrate following the current flow in the focusing phase.
Under the OO1 Vh focusing step, IgG were roughly migrated to the basic region based on
their pl; however, complete focusing was not achieved. In contrast, under the 10000Vh
focusing step, the isotypes of IgG were completely separated and focused on the IPG gel.
In our preliminary study, no differences were observed between the focusing times of
5000Vh and 10000Vh (data not shown), but the 10000Vh focusing condition seemed to
provide more reproducible results.
We examined two IPG strips with different pH ranges to compare the efficacy of
pH gradients for IgG separation. In IEF, the target proteins migrate through the pH
gradient present in the gels. Therefore, in order to maximally resolve target proteins, it is
important to use strips with an appropriate pH gradient based on the predicted pi of the
target proteins (Pirttila et al., 1991). The broad pH range (pH 3-10) gradient has been
generally recommended for resolving proteins when their pi ranges are unknown. The pi
ranges of the IgG isotypes were expected between 5.5 and 9.5 from previous studies
(Walker 1994; Keren 2003). In the present study, we examined the broad ranged (pH3-
10) and basic narrow ranged (pH5-8) strips. As we expected, the IgG isotypes were
separated by the charge dependent heterogeneity. The number of detected IgG banding in
the narrow ranged strips is higher with attenuated background than that of broad ranged
strips The efficacies of the narrow basic pH gradient for the specific IgG isotypes
detection were previously presented, because of its sensitivity (Pirttila et al., 1991;
Lamers et al., 1995; Kleine and Damm 2003; Kleine and Damm 2003) However, the pH
gradient of the basic range strips limits up to pH 8 and the residues of IgG isotypes were
observed in our study. We recommended employing the broad range pH strips for
comparison the whole IgG profile in the paired CSF/serum samples.
In all methods used for the detection of intrathecal Ig synthesis, CSF must be
compared directly with matched serum (Andersson et al., 1994; Freedman 2004). For a
simple comparison of the banding patterns between CSF and matched serum, the fixed
dilution of serum against set volume of the CSF, similar amounts of the total protein, and
IgG in paired samples were applied in previous studies (Keir et al., 1990; Correale et al.,
2002). In the present study, the equal volume of total protein in paired samples was first
examined because of the simple preparation. Several simple methods including
bincinchoninic acid (BCA) assay, Lowry protein assay, and Bradford protein assay for
measurement of total protein in the CSF and serum have been reported (Keller and
Neville 1986; Rostrom et al., 2004). These methods are sensitive enough to measure a
low concentration of protein in CSF and no special equipment was required. However,
the interpretation of paired samples was complicated because of the strong background in
the serum samples. Thus, equal volumes of IgG in matched samples are generally
required for a simple interpretation of oligoclonal bands. The volume of 20ng to 1200ng
IgG have been recommended for oligoclonal band detection (Keir et al., 1990). In the
current study, clear and sharp band patterns were observed in serum and CSF when both
samples were normalized to 100ng IgG. However, as the intensity of the detected bands
is also influenced by immunoblotting methods, a wider range of IgG concentrations may
be acceptable with more sensitive immunoblotting.
Following the IEF procedure, the separated proteins were transferred to
nitrocellulose membranes by press-blotting with little modification (Keir et al., 1990). In
non-covalent binding, up to 50% of the proteins initially bound to the membrane are
known to be washed off by the detergent through the subsequent incubation procedure
(Keir et al., 1990). However, sufficient reactivity with the antibody was observed in our
study without a fixation step.
Finally, we reported the application of the Protean IEF cellTM and ReadyStripTM
IPG strip for oligoclonal band detection. Although a few disadvantages were considered
in our study including consuming time through the entire method, wearing gloves for
prevention of acrylamide toxicity, and cost for the strips, oligoclonal banding detection
by this method may provide more sensitive and reliable information regarding the
presence of intrathecal IgG synthesis.
Detection of Oligoclonal Bands in GSDM Patients
Qualitative analysis of the intrathecal IgG synthesis in GSDM was performed by
the IEF-immunofixation. In the current study, we demonstrated more than two distinct
additional bands in the CSF from three dogs with GSDM. Moreover, several identical
banding patterns were observed in all paired CSF/serum samples. This finding was
comparable with the previous study reported by Ruaux et al. In this previous study,
additional banding patterns in the CSF were reported in five often dogs with GSDM and
in three of six control dogs. They also suggested that dogs with GSDM tended to present
a strong immunoglobulin band compared with the faint band formation demonstrated in
other dogs including control group. In human, the presence of identical oligoclonal
banding in paired samples indicates a systemic disorder with leakage of the BBB. In our
current study, however, no evidence of systemic disorders was observed in all cases. In
addition, the identical banding patterns observed in normal dogs were more consistent
than those in GSDM. Therefore, these banding patterns may represent typical IgG
isotypes normally present in canine paired samples. The reasons for these banding
patterns observed in normal dogs are unknown. A unique living circumstance of the dog,
such as frequent vaccinations, may lead to alternation of the BBB permeability thereby
allowing the coexistence of identical IgG isotypes in CSF and serum.
In this study, we described simple and reliable methods for oligoclonal band
detection by use of Protean IEF cellTM and ReadyStripTM IPG strips, and suggested the
presence of oligoclonal bands in the CSF of GSDM patients. The specificity and
sensitivity of the methods need to be determined in a future study with a large sample
size and histological confirmation of GSDM. With the methods described in our study,
further investigations may provide important insights into the pathoetiology of GSDM.
A) 50ng 100ng 200ng B) pink, 50ng; yellow, 100ng; blue, 200ng
Figure 4-1. The CSF containing 50ng, 100ng, and 200ng of IgG were applied in IEF-
immunoblotting. A dose dependent intensity was observed. The banding
patterns presented by immunoblotting (A) were analyzed by the densitometry
A) IEF-immunofixation, B) Densitometory analysis; blue OOO1Vh, pink 10,000Vh
Figure 4-2. The CSF containing 100ng of IgG was focused at OO1 Vh and 10,000Vh. No
banding pattern was observed in the condition of OO1 Vh.
A pH 10 pH 8
pH 3 pH 5
A) IEF-immunofixation, B) Densitometory analysis; blue pH 3-10, pink pH 5-8
Figure 4-3. The paired CSF/serum samples containing 100ng of IgG were applied to the
broad range (pH 3-10) and narrow range (pH 5-8) strips. The resolution of banding
patterns was clear in the narrow range strip.
C S C S C S
C, CSF; S, serum; blue, CSF; pink, serum
Figure 4-4. Three focusing conditions of the paired samples were examined. 100ng of
IgG A), 200ng of IgG B), and 2lg of total protein C) were contained in the
paired samples. The banding patterns were analyzed by densitometry D), E),
Table 4-1. Clinical observations and CSF analysis of 6 German shepherd dogs with
Dog age sex NCC
1 11y3m sF 0
OB Duration of
1 15 months
2 10y7m cM
3 6y6m sF
4 12y cM
5 9y6m sF
6 5y 6m cM
28.4 0.55 0.41 0 6 months
2 56.6 0.51 0.55 2 4 months
0 41.6 0.77 0.40 2 12 months
0 36.3 0.9 0.17 0 7 months
3 52.3 0.65 0.69 3 2 months
sF, spayed female; cM castrated male; NCC, nuclear cell count;
OB, the number of additional oligoclonal band; reference range,
AQ, albumin quanta;
C S C S CS C S C S C S
Normal 1 Normal 2 Normal 3 Normal 4 Normal 5 Normal 6
Figure 4-5. The CSF and matched serum samples of six normal dogs were examined by
CS CSC S C S C S CS
GSDM 1GSDM2GSDM3 GSDM 4 GSDM 5 GSDM 6
Figure 4-6. The CSF and matched serum samples of six dogs with GSDM were examined
by IEF-immunoblotting. Oligoclonal additional bands (arrow) were observed
in four cases.
Figure 4-7. The band intensity of GSDM 6 was represented by optical density. Three
additional peaks (arrow) were observed
INTRATHECAL IGG SYNTHESIS IN GSDM
Previous studies suggested that demyelination and axonal loss are characteristic
pathological features of GSDM (Averill 1973). Although precise mechanisms leading to
the development of spinal cord lesions have not been elucidated, several lines of evidence
exist which support the hypothesis that GSDM is caused by autoimmune responses to the
CNS. This hypothesis has been primarily based on early studies reporting altered immune
systems in GSDM (Waxman et al., 1980; Waxman et al., 1980), and an
immunohistological study demonstrating IgG and complement deposition in
demyelinative lesions in GSDM (Barclay and Haines 1994).
In the current study, we hypothesized that the immune-mediated etiology of GSDM
is analogous to MS in human beings. In order to assess the intrathecal IgG synthesis, IgG
index and albumin quanta (AQ) were calculated based on quantitative ELISA; the
qualitative IgG analysis was examined by IEF-immunofixation method.
Materials and Methods
Albumin and IgG concentrations of serum and CSF were determined by
quantitative ELISA. The CSF and serum samples assayed in the current study were
obtained from six German shepherd dog in chapter 4.
The amount of IgG in the sample was determined by a commercially available IgG
quantification kit (Dog IgG ELISA Quantization Kit, Bethyl, Inc. Montgomery, TX)
according to manufacture's instruction. The optical density was recorded at 450nm by
use of a microplate reader (EL340 Biokinetics Reader, Bio-Tek Instruments, Winooski,
In the albumin quantitative ELISA, the micro-titer plate (MaxiSorpTM, Nunc,
Rochester, NY) was coated by Goat anti-Dog albumin antibody (1:100) (Bethyl, Inc.
Montgomery, TX). The sample was adequately diluted in distilled water (serum,
1:500,000; CSF, 1:5,000). As a detection antibody, HRP-conjugated goat anti-dog
albumin antibody (1:150,000) (Bethyl, Inc. Montgomery, TX) was applied. The dog
serum albumin (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO) was used for the standard curve.
Albumin quanta (AQ) and IgG index were calculated according the formula as
AQ = ALB CSF/ALB serum x 100, IgG index = IgG CSF/IgG serum /AQ
The reference range of AQ and IgG index are less than 0.3 (Behr et al., 2006) and
0.7 (Tipold et al., 1993) respectively. The results are given as mean and + SEM.
Results and Discussion
The mean values of AQ and total protein concentration in GSDM ranged from 0.51
to 0.90 (mean 0.67) and from 28.4 to 56.6mg/ml (mean 42.6), respectively (Table 4-1).
The total protein concentration obtained in this study was within the reference range,
except for two dogs (dog 3 and dog 6). The albumin quantification of various
neurological disorders in the canine CSF/serum paired samples have been recently
reported by Behr et al (Behr et al., 2006). This study described a linear correlation
between the total protein concentration and the AQ value using high resolution protein
electrophoresis (Behr et al., 2006). The AQ value calculated in our current study was
higher than that of the reference range in the previous study. In addition to the increased
concentration of the total protein in CSF, the high AQ value also suggested a destruction
of blood-CSF barrier in demyelinative lesions of GSDM. However, since the AQ values
are reported to be dependent on age and methods that laboratory employs, breed and age
matched normal controls are required in a future study.
The mean value of IgG concentration was significantly higher in GSDM (0.042
mg/ml+0.026) than in normal group (0.014mg/ml+0.014) (Figure 5-1). The IgG index
was calculated by comparing the amount of IgG in CSF with that in serum using albumin
as a reference protein. Measurements of IgG in paired samples were performed by
quantitative IgG ELISA. The mean value (0.420.17) of the IgG index in GSDM was
within a reference range (<0.7) described in a previous study with quantitative ELISA
(Table 4-1) (Bichsel et al., 1984; Tipold et al.,1993). No intrathecal IgG synthesis was
suspected in our study. However, the sensitivity of the IgG index for the detection of
intrathecal IgG synthesis has been controversial in human medicine because of its
frequent false values with the high AQ (Behr et al., 2006). Hence, for the detection of the
intrathecal IgG synthesis, quantitative assays calculated by IgG index are considered less
sensitive than qualitative IgG assays such as demonstration of the presence of oligoclonal
bands. In our study, the high AQ values observed in GSDM were described above.
Therefore, the presence of intrathecal IgG synthesis were not refuted with the normal
range of the IgG index.
In chapter 4, we presented that there were more than two additional bandings in the
CSF from three dogs with GSDM. Interestingly, the additional bands were observed in
dogs with a relatively high IgG index ranged between 0.40 and 0.65 (dog 3, 4, and 6).
Two of these dogs also presented a relatively short clinical duration and higher range of
the total protein concentration. These results may indicate the presence of active lesions
in the spinal cord in these three cases. Furthermore, the additional IgG bands in the CSF
were clearly observed in these cases. Therefore, we demonstrated the presence of
intrathecal IgG synthesis at least in these three cases. Because of the small sample size in
the current study, statistical analyses were not performed. In addition, histological
confirmation of GSDM was not performed in the current study.
In order to confirm the sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of GSDM, a
further study with a larger sample size and histological confirmation of GSDM is
warranted. Based on the results of this study, we suggested the presence of intrathecal
IgG synthesis in GSDM. This finding will contribute to the development of a novel
diagnostic schema of GSDM. Further investigations on intrathecal IgG synthesis in
GSDM will also provide important insights into the immune-mediated etiology of
GSDM, Gereman shepherd degenerative myelopathy
Figure 5-1. The concentration of IgG in lumbar CSF (mg/ml)
LIMITATIONS IN THE STUDY AND CONCLUSION
In this study, two methods for CSF analysis of GSDM were described. These were
sufficiently reproducible and sensitive for canine CSF analysis. In chapter 2, the clinical
application of human MBP ELISA was described. We demonstrated a simple laboratory
test to assess active demyelinating lesions in the CNS of GSDM patients. In chapter 3,
with the use of IEF and immunoblotting, the presence of intrathecal IgG synthesis in
GSDM patients was demonstrated by detection of oligoclonal bands.
Limitation in Sampling Groups
There were several limitations in this study. First, all samples of GSDM were
obtained from clinically diagnosed patients. Pathological confirmation of GSDM was not
performed in this study. In order to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the assays
described in this study for GSDM diagnosis, pathological confirmation of GSDM would
be required in future studies.
Second, normal control samples were obtained from canine cadavers in this
research. Clinical history and age were not known in all cadavers. The CSF samples with
abnormal protein concentration were excluded from the normal group. All samples were
collected immediately after euthanasia to avoid factors influencing the permeability of
blood brain barrier (BBB). Age-dependent changes in permeability of the BBB may
occur which could alter our results. Congenital immune deficiency or some other
inheritance disorders have been reported in the GSD (Batt et al., 1991; Rosser 1997),
which may result in the alternated values of the AQ and the IgG index in this breed. For
the evaluation of the reference range in aged German shepherd dogs, therefore, age and
breed matched control samples may be needed.
The number of samples obtained for this study was relatively small and other
canine disorders affecting the spinal cord were not examined. A larger sample size of the
dogs would have provided more reliable statistical measures. Comparing the results for
GSDM patients with other neurologic diseases, both inflammatory and non-inflammatory
in nature, would have provided useful information
Cerebral spinal fluid and serum samples were collected from GSDM patients in
various stages of the disease. Is it likely that the changes seen would change over time
and might even help categorizing disease stages.
Limitation in Immune Cross-Reactivity of Human MBP ELISA
Cross-reactivity of the human MBP ELISA to canine MBP was confirmed by
immunoblotting. Canine MBP was isolated by organic extraction (Maatta et al., 1997).
Following electrophoresis, isolated MBP was detected by Coomasie staining at 18.5KDa,
known as a monomeric molecular weight of MBP in mammals. In addition, we
demonstrated a sufficient reaction of the polyclonal anti-human MBP antibody to isolated
MBP in western blotting and ELISA. Comparing with the human and bovine MBP,
however, the reaction of the anti-human MBP antibody was less sensitive to the isolated
canine MBP. We suspect the loss of epitopes of isolated MBP during extraction
procedure. As a result of the alternate splicing of the MBP transcript, four isoforms of
MBP are recognized in human and the size and conformation of MBP vary in pH of the
aqueous solutions. On the other hand, only one isoform (18.5kDa) of canine MBP was
extracted by the acidic aqueous solution in our study. It may be cause of less immune-
reactivity demonstrated in the isolated canine MBP.
Limitation in IEF-Immunofixation
IEF-immunofixation technique has been known as the most sensitive method for
oligoclonal band detection in laboratory test. We developed the novel IEF-
immunofixation techniques with the plastic back IPG strips.
Recently, the international formed committee published a consensus statement of
IgG qualitative criteria in human. In this statement, twelve recommendations regarding
the analysis were stated below (Freedman et al., 2005).
1. The single most informative methods is a qualitative assessment of CSF for IgG,
best performed using IEF together with some form of immunodetection approved
by food and drug administration.
2. This qualitative analysis should be performed using un-concentrated CSF and must
be compared a serum sample run simultaneously in the same assay in an adjacent
3. Optimal runs use similar amounts of IgG from paired serum sample and CSF.
4. Recognized positive and negative controls should be run with each set of the
samples and entire gel rejected if oligoclonal bands in the positive controls are
poorly developed or the negative controls are over loaded.
5. Cerebrospinal fluid reports of qualitative analysis should be made in terms of 1 of
the 5 recognized staining patterns of oligoclonal banding.
6. Interpretation should be made by an individual experienced in the technique used.
7. Clinicians need to consider the results of all other test performed as part of the CSF
panel (cell count, protein, glucose, and lactate and others).
8. In certain cases, an evaluation using light chains for immunodetection can help to
resolve equivocal oligoclonal IgG pattern.
9. Consideration should be given to repeating the lumber puncture and CSF analysis if
clinical suspicion is high but results of CSF are equivocal, negative, or show only a
10. Quantitative IgG analysis is an informative complementary test but is not
considered a substitute for qualitative IgG assessment, which has the highest
sensitivity and specificity.
11. When performed, nonlinear formulas should be used to measure intratheal IgG
level that considered the integrity of the BBB by also measuring the ratio of
albumin in CSF to serum.
12. Laboratories performing routine CSF analysis should be those that ensure their own
internal quality control and participate in external quality assessment controls to
assure maintenance of a high standard of reliability and performance, as has been
recommended in some international consensus report.
(Freedman et al., 2005)
In order to assess the accuracy of the qualitative IgG analysis, a negative and
positive quality control was required. However, no adequate samples for a positive and
negative control were established in our study. A further study containing the other
neurological disorders may provide empirical information for the quality control of
canine oligoclonal band detection.
MBP in Human Neurological Disorders and GSDM
German shepherd degenerative myelopathy is a chronic, demyelinating
neurodegenerative disease of the CNS. In order to investigate underlying pathogenesis of
this disorder, we have hypothesized an immune-mediated etiology similar to MS in
human beings. In this study, we demonstrated the elevation of MBP in CSF of GSDM. In
human, the concentration of MBP in CSF of MS patients was described by Ohta et al.
with sensitive ELISA. In that study, an increased MBP was presented in 81% of active
MS patients in contrast to 19% of patients with inactive MS and other neurological
disorders. They also demonstrated the maximum MBP concentration during the recurrent
exacerbation phase of the disease by the serial sampling. In addition, the elevation of
MBP has been demonstrated in patients with acute neurological diseases including active
phase ofRRMS, leukodystrophies, myelopathies, encephalopathies, cerebrovascular
disease, brain surgery, and head injury (Massaro and Tonali 1998; Whitaker 1998;
Michalowska-Wender et al., 2001; Ohta et al., 2002), and rarely found in chronic
demyelination disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson disease (Ohta
et al., 2000). In human, therefore, the determination of MBP in CSF is not only used for
the ancillary diagnosis of the active demyelination but also for monitoring the disease
phase and therapeutic efficacy. In the current study, the elevation of MBP was
demonstrated in all cases of GSDM "chronic demyelinative canine disorder" without the
correlation of the clinical stage. Although no histological confirmation was performed,
our results suggested the presence of active demyelinative lesions in the spinal cord in
GSDM patients. In contrast to chronic demyelinaton diseases in human, the clinical
course of GSDM is relatively short and a more rapid decline in function. It may cause an
active and progressive break-down of myelin sheath during the entire disease phase in
Primary progressive MS is not a highly active disease and, therefore, elevated MBP
is less likely to occur. On the other hand, GSDM, although also a chronic
neurodegenerative disease, has a compressed time course. Primary progressive MS has a
7-10 year course of disease from initial signs until severe disability; whereas GSDM
progressed over 9-18 months. Based upon life-span of dogs compared to human beings,
these times represent a similar "life years". It might be expected that the levels of all
reactive components would, therefore, be higher in GSDM patients compared to PPMS
Oligoclonal Band in Human Neurological Disorders and GSDM
In the current study, oligoclonal bands were detected in three CSF samples of
GSDM patients that presented relatively high values of the IgG index. For the laboratory
test, the frequency of the oligoclonal bands was reported by Mayringer et al. in human
neurological disorders (Mayringer et al., 2005). In that study, oligoclonal bands were
detected in 98.4% of demyelinating diseases, 68.4% of inflammatory neurological
diseases, and 70.7% of the other neurological disorders including vascular and metabolic
diseases; a strong correlation between the IgG index and this frequency was also
demonstrated. In contrast to the IgG index dependent frequency of the oligoclonal band
detection in inflammatory and other neurological disorders, there is no dependency on the
IgG index in demyelinating diseases. In that study, therefore, they concluded that it was
not necessary to analyze the IgG index, but perform the oligoclonal band detection in
patient with suspicious demyelinative diseases. Moreover, McLean et al reported that the
diagnostic probability of MS, other inflammatory disorder, and other diagnosis disorders
were 66%, 20%, and 14%, respectively, when oligoclonal bands were demonstrated in
CSF (McLean et al., 1990). In other studies describing the sensitivity and specificity of
qualitative IgG analysis, Lunding et al. reported that oligoclonal bands were detected
with 100% sensitivity of MS patients and 9.5% of other neurological disorders, giving the
test specificity of 91% for MS patients (Lunding et al., 2000). Importantly, the presence
of elevated IgG and unique CSF oligoclonal bands of IgG are similar in PPMS as we
have described in GSDM patients.
In the current study, we demonstrated the presence of unique intrathecal oligoclonal
bands in the CSF in some dogs. This is in contrast to a study in dogs (Ruaux 2003) where
oligoclonal bands were found in all dog CSF samples, but which were not unique. The
fact that the IgG index is elevated in dogs with GSDM indicates that IgG is accumulated
in the CSF of affected dogs. While some clearly have de novo synthesis of IgG,
demonstrated by the unique oligoclonal bands. Those who have elevated IgG without
unique bands may indicate that most GSDM patients selectively accumulate IgG into the
CSF. Perhaps the BBB has mechanisms to accumulate IgG which have not previously
been appreciated, analogous to the 2-pore theory of protein regulation in the kidney.
German Shepherd DM patients do have changes in CSF IgG concentrations and
some patients have the presence of unique CSF oligoclonal bands of IgG. In addition,
MBP concentration in CSF of these patients is elevated. These facts support the immune
basis of GSDM and indicate that GSDM is one of the immune-related neurodegenerative
diseases. While the changes are more pronounced than in PPMS, they are less severe than
RRMS which is a more active form of MS. The age of onset, the time course, the lack of
sex predisposition, the location and extent of neurologic damage, the type of neurologic
pathology, and the changes demonstrated in this study all support that fact that GSDM
appears to be analogous to PPMS in human. Further studies will be needed to understand
the significance of these findings and how they relate to the pathophysiology of GSDM,
but this study has demonstrated the relevance of GSDM as an important animal model for
neurodegeneration in human beings.
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Takashi Oji was born on March 2, 1974, in Fukuoka, Japan. He received his
Bachelor of Veterinary Medical Science degree from Yamaguchi University, Japan, in
March 1999. He then worked in a small animal practice for five years. After that, he
came to University of Florida and did research on canine CSF. From January 2005 to
present, he has been a master's student in veterinary medical science at University of
Florida. He also works as a research assistant under the guidance of Dr. Roger M.