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Steudemann, Carola; Bauersachs, Stefan; Weber, Karin; Wess, Gerhard: Detection and comparison of microRNA expression in the serum of Doberman Pinschers with dilated cardiomyopathy and healthy controls. In: BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:12




Background: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common heart disease in Doberman Pinschers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs playing important roles in gene regulation. Different miRNA expression patterns have been described for DCM in humans and might represent potential diagnostic markers. There are no studies investigating miRNA expression profiles in canine DCM. The aims of this study were to screen the miRNA expression profile of canine serum using miRNA microarray and to compare expression patterns of a group of Doberman Pinschers with DCM and healthy controls. Results: Eight Doberman Pinschers were examined by echocardiography and 24-hour-ECG and classified as healthy (n = 4) or suffering from DCM (n = 4). Total RNA was extracted from serum and hybridized on a custom-designed 8x60k miRNA microarray (Agilent) containing probes for 1368 individual miRNAs. Although total RNA concentrations were very low in serum samples, 404 different miRNAs were detectable with sufficient signal intensity on miRNA microarray. 22 miRNAs were differentially expressed in the two groups (p < 0.05 and fold change (FC) > 1.5), but did not reach statistical significance after multiple testing correction (false discovery rate adjusted p > 0.05). Five miRNAs were selected for further analysis using quantitative Real-Time RT-PCR (qPCR) assays. No significant differences were found using specific miRNA qPCR assays (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Numerous miRNAs can be detected in canine serum. Between healthy and DCM dogs, miRNA expression changes could be detected, but the results did not reach statistical significance most probably due to the small group size. miRNAs are potential new circulating biomarkers in veterinary medicine and should be investigated in larger patient groups and additional canine diseases.