Simon Petersen-Jones DVetMed PhD DVOphthal DipECVO MRCVS
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Michigan State University D-208
Veterinary Medical Center
East Lansing MI 48864-1314
Aims for our studies
We now have 191 DNA samples from Cairn Terriers of which 93 are from dogs affected with Ocular Melanosis and the remainder are from relatives of dogs with Ocular Melanosis (OM). We have pedigree information on all of the dogs except for one or two where pedigrees were not available. The individual pedigrees have been drawn up into large pedigrees linking affected dogs to help us better analyze the mode of inheritance. We have been able to rule out some modes of inheritance and although we have a theory of the mode of inheritance we are still not yet able to prove our theory beyond any doubt. We have been performing special examinations of eyes removed from OM dogs with glaucoma. This uses a technique called immunohistochemistry, which uses a special staining technique utilizing antibodies to stain the histological sections. By seeing which different antibodies stain the cells that proliferate in Ocular Melanosis we can determine in detail exactly what type of cell they are. By completely characterizing the cell type this can give us information about the type of gene that may be mutated to cause the disease. We are also looking at some eyes by electron microscopy. This technique gives a very high power view of the cells and seeing the ultrastructure of these cells also helps us to work out the type of cell that is proliferating. These techniques are expensive and we have only been able to afford to do preliminary studies. We need more funding to allow us to fully utilize these techniques
Our plans for the future:
We are fortunate to have funding for a graduate student to work on Ocular Melanosis starting full time for one year in January 2005. We need some matching funding from the Cairn Terrier Club of America to allow our graduate student to do the studies needed to reach our aims. If we cannot raise the money to fund this work we will need to move her to a different project.
What we need:
We are very keen to make major progress towards our ultimate aim of developing a DNA test for OM. We are willing to speak to breeders, take part in screening sessions or examine potentially affected dogs at MSU.