Investigating canine degenerative myelopathy as a disease model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for histopathological evidence of dysphagia
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Unspecified swallowing impairment (dysphagia) was recently reported in dogs with degenerative myelopathy (DM), a proposed disease model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The purpose of our study was to establish a clinicopathological correlation of dysphagia in canine DM. We investigated the brainstem nuclei involved in swallowing in DM and control dogs. Samples were procured from the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri. Subtle evidence of neurodegeneration within each of the brainstem nuclei involved in swallowing was identified in DM samples using hematoxylin & eosin staining. Immunohistochemical methods are currently underway to substantiate this finding. Given that virtually all humans with ALS develop dysphagia, characterization of swallowing impairment is imperative to validate canine DM as a bona fide animal model of ALS. This line of research has the potential to benefit both people and dogs with dysphagia related to ALS and other diseases that cause dysphagia.
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