Publications by authors named "Tarja S Jokinen"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Persistent fontanelles in Chihuahuas. Part I. Distribution and clinical relevance.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Jul 24;35(4):1834-1847. Epub 2021 May 24.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: The Chihuahua dog breed is known for frequent occurrence of a bregmatic fontanelle on the dorsal skull. A common conception is that this skull defect is a clinically irrelevant finding. No studies, however, describe its prevalence or whether it is accompanied by other persistent fontanelles (PFs). Although Chihuahuas are predisposed to Chiari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM), it is unknown whether PFs occur more commonly in dogs with clinical signs that are caused by CM or SM.

Hypothesis/objectives: To describe the number and location of PFs at cranial sutures (CSs) and to compare the occurrence of these PFs in dogs with and without CM/SM-related clinical signs. We hypothesized that PFs also occur commonly at lateral and caudal cranial surfaces, affect a higher number of CSs, and are larger in dogs with CM/SM-related clinical signs.

Animals: Fifty client-owned Chihuahuas with or without CM/SM-related clinical signs.

Results: Of the 50 dogs evaluated, 46 (92%) had either 1 or several PFs. The mean ± SD number of PFs was 2.8 ± 3.0 (range, 0-13). A total of 138 PFs occupied 118 CSs with 57 (48%) located dorsally, 44 (37%) caudally, and 17 (14%) laterally. The number of CSs affected by PFs was significantly higher (P ≤ .001) and total PF area was significantly larger (P = .003) in dogs with CM/SM-related clinical signs.

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: Persistent fontanelles are very common in this group of Chihuahuas and appear at dorsal, lateral, and caudal cranial surfaces. They are more numerous and larger in Chihuahuas with CM/SM-related clinical signs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16151DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8295709PMC
July 2021

Seizure frequency discrepancy between subjective and objective ictal electroencephalography data in dogs.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Jul 18;35(4):1819-1825. Epub 2021 May 18.

Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Many studies of epilepsy in veterinary medicine use subjective data (eg, caregiver-derived histories) to determine seizure frequency. Conversely, in people, objective data from electroencephalography (EEG) are mainly used to diagnose epilepsy, measure seizure frequency and evaluate efficacy of antiseizure drugs. These EEG data minimize the possibility of the underreporting of seizures, a known phenomenon in human epileptology.

Objective: To evaluate the correlation between reported seizure frequency and EEG frequency of ictal paroxysmal discharges (PDs) and to determine whether seizure underreporting phenomenon exists in veterinary epileptology.

Animals: Thirty-three ambulatory video-EEG recordings in dogs showing ≥1 ictal PD, excluding dogs with status epilepticus.

Methods: Retrospective observational study. Ictal PDs were counted manually over the entire recording to obtain the frequency of EEG seizures. Caregiver-reported seizure frequency from the medical record was categorized into weekly, daily, hourly, and per minute seizure groupings. The Spearman rank test was used for correlation analysis.

Results: The coefficient value (r ) comparing reported seizure to EEG-confirmed ictal PD frequencies was 0.39 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.048-0.64, P = .03). Other r values comparing history against various seizure types were: 0.36 for motor seizures and 0.37 for nonmotor (absence) seizures.

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: A weak correlation was found between the frequency of reported seizures from caregivers (subjective data) and ictal PDs on EEG (objective data). Subjective data may not be reliable enough to determine true seizure frequency given the discrepancy with EEG-confirmed seizure frequency. Confirmation of the seizure underreporting phenomenon in dogs by prospective study should be carried out.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16158DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8295668PMC
July 2021

Persistent fontanelles in Chihuahuas. Part II: Association with craniocervical junction abnormalities, syringomyelia, and ventricular volume.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Jul 3;35(4):1848-1856. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Persistent fontanelles (PFs) are, in Chihuahuas, almost ubiquitous. Furthermore, Chihuahuas are predisposed to other craniomorphological abnormalities, including syringomyelia (SM), ventriculomegaly, and craniocervical junction (CCJ) overcrowding resulting in neural tissue deviation. It is, however, undetermined if PFs are more common in dogs with these structural abnormalities, and their etiology is unknown.

Hypothesis/objectives: Persistent fontanelles are more numerous and larger in Chihuahuas with low body weight, older age, SM, dilated fourth ventricle, ventriculomegaly, and CCJ overcrowding.

Animals: Fifty client-owned Chihuahuas.

Methods: Cross-sectional study evaluating the association of both the number of cranial sutures affected by PFs (NAS) and total fontanelle area (TFA), based on computed tomography with SM, fourth ventricle dilatation, lateral ventricle volume, and extent of neural tissue compression at the CCJ based on magnetic resonance images.

Results: The NASs was higher and TFA larger in dogs with low body weight (NAS: P = .007; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.384-0.861; TFA: P = .002; 95% CI = -1.91 to -0.478), larger lateral ventricles (NAS: P ≤ .001; 95% CI = 1.04-1.15; TFA: P ≤ .001; 95% CI = 0.099-0.363), and more severe neural tissue compression at the CCJ (NAS: P ≤ .001; 95% CI = 1.26-2.06; TFA: P = .03; 95% CI = 0.066-1.13). Similarly, dogs with SM (NAS: P = .004; 95% CI = 1.26-3.32; TFA: mean ± SD, 130 ± 217 mm ; P = .05) had higher NAS and larger TFA than did dogs without SM (43.7 ± 61.0 mm ). Age was not associated with NAS (P = .81; 95% CI = 0.989-1.01) or TFA (P = .33; 95% CI = -0.269 to 0.092).

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: Persistent fontanelles are associated with small size, SM, ventriculomegaly, and CCJ overcrowding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8295681PMC
July 2021

Effect of prior general anesthesia or sedation and antiseizure drugs on the diagnostic utility of wireless video electroencephalography in dogs.

J Vet Intern Med 2020 Sep 13;34(5):1967-1974. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Ambulatory wireless video electroencephalography (AEEG) is the method of choice to discriminate epileptic seizures from other nonepileptic episodes. However, the influence of prior general anesthesia (GA), sedation, or antiseizure drug (ASD) on the diagnostic ability of AEEG is unknown.

Hypothesis/objectives: The use of sedation/GA or ASD treatment before AEEG recording may affect the diagnostic ability of AEEG and the time to first abnormality on AEEG.

Animals: A total of 108 client-owned dogs undergoing ambulatory AEEG for paroxysmal episodes.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study. Proportions of diagnostic AEEG and time to first abnormality were compared between dogs that received sedation/GA or neither for instrumentation as well as dogs receiving at least 1 ASD and untreated dogs.

Results: Ambulatory EEG was diagnostic in 60.2% of all dogs including 49% of the sedation/GA dogs and 68% of dogs that received neither (odds ratio [OR], 2.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-5.00; P = .05). The AEEG was diagnostic in 51% of dogs receiving at least 1 ASD and 66% of untreated dogs (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 0.9-4.3; P = .11). No difference was found in time to first abnormality between sedation/GA or neither or ASD-treated or untreated dogs (P = .1 and P = .3 respectively). Ninety-five percent of dogs had at least 1 abnormality within 277 minutes.

Conclusion And Clinical Importance: Sedation/GA and concurrent ASD administration were not identified as confounding factors for decreasing AEEG diagnostic capability nor did they delay the time to first abnormality. A 4-hour minimal recording period is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.15856DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7517491PMC
September 2020

A multicenter randomized controlled trial of medium-chain triglyceride dietary supplementation on epilepsy in dogs.

J Vet Intern Med 2020 May 15;34(3):1248-1259. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, UK.

Background: Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) enriched diet has a positive effect on seizure control and behavior in some dogs with idiopathic epilepsy (IE).

Objective: To evaluate the short-term efficacy of MCTs administered as an add-on dietary supplement (DS) to a variable base diet to assess seizure control and antiseizure drug's (ASD) adverse effect profiles.

Animals: Twenty-eight dogs with International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force Tier II (IVETF) level diagnosis of treated IE with 3 or more seizures in the last 3 months were used.

Methods: A 6-month multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover trial was completed, comparing an MCT-DS with a control-DS. A 9% metabolic energy-based amount of MCT or control oil was supplemented to the dogs' diet for 3 months, followed by a control oil or MCT for another 3 months, respectively. Dogs enrolled in this study satisfied most requirements of IE diagnosis stated by the IVETF II level. If they received an oil DS or drugs that could influence the metabolism of the investigated DS or chronic ASD, the chronic ASD medication was adjusted, or other causes of epilepsy were found, the dogs were excluded from the study.

Results: Seizure frequency (median 2.51/month [0-6.67] versus 2.67/month [0-10.45]; P = .02) and seizure-day frequency were significantly (1.68/month [0-5.60] versus 1.99/month [0-7.42], P = .01) lower when dogs were fed MCT-DS in comparison with the control-DS. Two dogs were free of seizures, 3 had ≥50% and 12 had <50% reductions in seizure frequency, and 11 dogs showed no change or an increase in seizure frequency.

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: These data show antiseizure properties of an MCT-DS compared to a control oil and support former evidence for the efficacy of MCTs as a nutritive, management option for a subpopulation of drug-resistant dogs with epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.15756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255680PMC
May 2020

Response to letter to editor regarding Seizure-precipitating factors in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

J Vet Intern Med 2019 05 5;33(3):1121-1122. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.15465DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524384PMC
May 2019

Seizure-precipitating factors in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

J Vet Intern Med 2019 Mar 21;33(2):701-707. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Stress, sleep deprivation, and infectious diseases are important seizure-precipitating factors in human epilepsy patients. However, these factors have not been thoroughly studied in epileptic dogs.

Objective: Seizure-precipitating factors are common in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and the occurrence of these factors associate with the dogs' signalment, personality, and epilepsy-related factors.

Animals: Fifty dogs with diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy from the hospital populations of University Veterinary Teaching Hospital of University of Helsinki and Referral Animal Hospital Aisti.

Methods: In a retrospective cross-sectional observational study, owners were interviewed about their dogs' possible seizure-precipitating factors according to a predefined questionnaire. The dogs were identified and selected by searching the medical records of the participating animal hospitals.

Results: The prevalence of seizure-precipitating factors in the study population was 74% (37/50). The most frequently reported factors included stress-related situations, sleep deprivation, weather, and hormonal factors. In dogs with focal onset seizures, the number of precipitating factors was 1.9 (95% CI 1.1-3.4) times higher compared to dogs with generalized seizures.

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: Seizure-precipitating factors are common in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy, and the nature of these factors is consistent with those of human patients. Aside from antiepileptic medication, acknowledging and avoiding seizure-precipitating factors could help veterinarians achieve better treatment outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.15402DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6430923PMC
March 2019

Cross-sectional area and fat content in dachshund epaxial muscles: an MRI and CT reliability study.

Vet Rec Open 2018 20;5(1):e000256. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Small Animal Surgery, Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

MRI and CT are frequently used to diagnose spinal diseases in dogs. These modalities have detected epaxial muscle degeneration in dachshunds with intervertebral disc herniation. However, research on the reliability of epaxial muscular measurements is limited in veterinary medicine. The aims of the study were to assess the intrarater and inter-rater reliability of epaxial muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and fat content measurements on MRI and CT images in dachshunds, and to compare the CSA measurement between the two modalities. MRI and CT images of 10 healthy dachshunds were evaluated. Two blinded observers assessed MRI CSA, MRI fat content, CT CSA and CT muscle attenuation of three thoracolumbar epaxial muscles using OsiriX. The results showed 'substantial' to 'almost perfect' intrarater reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) 0.828-0.998) and inter-rater reliability (ICC 0.685-0.854) for all variables. When individual spinal segments were analysed, the intrarater and inter-rater reliability decreased and the confidence intervals increased. There was positive correlation (r= 0.719-0.841, P=0.001) and high agreement (0.824-0.894) for the measured CSA between MRI and CT. Epaxial muscle CSA and fat content can be reliably measured on MRI and CT, bearing in mind that measurement of certain segments requires adequate training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vetreco-2017-000256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5888436PMC
March 2018

Acute fulminant necrotizing myopathy in a dog caused by co-infection with ultrastructural Sarcocystis caninum and Sarcocystis svanai-like apicomplexan protozoa.

Vet Parasitol 2018 Mar 6;252:153-156. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Finland. Electronic address:

Typically, carnivores are the definitive and herbivores the intermediate hosts for protozoan Sarcocystis spp. In the definitive host, the parasite has sexual multiplication in the intestine. Asexual phases occur in the musculature of different intermediate hosts. Although intestinal sarcocystosis is common in dogs, muscular symptomatic sarcocystosis is rarely reported. Here we report a fatal dual Sarcocystis spp. infection in a dog. The dog had acute onset of non-ambulatory tetraparesis. While neurological findings suggested a generalized neuromuscular disease with peripheral neuropathy concordant with the neurological deficits, the highly elevated muscle enzymes were more suggestive of a myopathy. Despite supportive therapy, the dog died three days after the onset of clinical signs. Necropsy revealed severe monophasic multifocal myodegeneration with severe pyogranulomatous inflammation. Histology revealed multiple sarcocysts in skeletal muscles and a smaller number in the heart. In light microscopy, both thin-walled and very thin-walled sarcocysts were found in skeletal muscles. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of two types of mature sarcocysts. Morphologically, cysts were indistinguishable from Sarcocystis caninum and Sarcocystis svanai, which were previously reported in a dog from USA. A region of the 18S rRNA gene sequence confirmed the presence of one species, S. arctica/caninum, without evidence for a dual infection. This is the first report of muscular sarcocystosis in a dog in Europe and, intriguingly, revealed morphologically similar species across the Atlantic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.02.011DOI Listing
March 2018

Assessing adverse effects of intra-articular botulinum toxin A in healthy Beagle dogs: A placebo-controlled, blinded, randomized trial.

PLoS One 2018 10;13(1):e0191043. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Objective: To investigate the clinical, cytological, and histopathological adverse effects of intra-articularly injected botulinum toxin A in dogs and to study whether the toxin spreads from the joint after the injection.

Methods: A longitudinal, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was conducted with six healthy laboratory Beagle dogs. Stifle joints were randomized to receive either 30 IU of onabotulinum toxin A or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Adverse effects and spread of the toxin were examined by evaluating dynamic and static weight-bearing of the injected limbs, by assessing painless range of motion and pain on palpation of joints, and by performing synovial fluid analysis, neurological examination, and electrophysiological recordings at different examination time-points in a 12-week period after the injections. The dogs were then euthanized and autopsy and histopathological examination of joint structures and adjacent muscles and nerves were performed.

Results: Intra-articular botulinum toxin A did not cause local weakness or injection site pain. Instead, static weight-bearing and painless range of motion of stifle joints decreased in the placebo limbs. No clinically significant abnormalities associated with intra-articular botulinum toxin A were detected in the neurological examinations. Electrophysiological recordings showed low compound muscle action potentials in two dogs in the botulinum toxin A-injected limb. No significant changes were detected in the synovial fluid. Autopsy and histopathological examination of the joint and adjacent muscles and nerves did not reveal histopathological adverse effects of the toxin.

Conclusion: Intra-articular botulinum toxin A does not produce significant clinical, cytological, or histopathological adverse effects in healthy dogs. Based on the electrophysiological recordings, the toxin may spread from the joint, but its clinical impact seems to be low.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0191043PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5761897PMC
March 2018

ADAM23 is a common risk gene for canine idiopathic epilepsy.

BMC Genet 2017 01 31;18(1). Epub 2017 Jan 31.

Research Programs Unit, Molecular Neurology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Idiopathic or genetic adult-onset epilepsy is a common neurological disorder in domestic dogs. Genetic association has been reported only with ADAM23 on CFA 37 in few breeds. To identify novel epilepsy genes, we performed genome-wide association (GWA) analyses in four new breeds, and investigated the association of the previously reported ADAM23 haplotype with the epilepsy phenotype in eight breeds.

Results: GWA analysis did not reveal new epilepsy loci. ADAM23 association (p < 0.05) was identified in five breeds. Combined analysis of all eight breeds showed significant association (p = 4.6e, OR 1.9).

Conclusions: Our results further support the role of ADAM23 in multiple breeds as a common risk gene for epilepsy with low penetrance. The lack of findings in the GWA analyses points towards inefficient capture of genetic variation by the current SNP arrays, causal variant(s) with low penetrance and possible phenocopies. Future work will include studies on ADAM23 function and expression in canine neurons, as well as whole-genome sequencing in order to identify additional IE genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12863-017-0478-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5282852PMC
January 2017

Craniometric Analysis of the Hindbrain and Craniocervical Junction of Chihuahua, Affenpinscher and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dogs With and Without Syringomyelia Secondary to Chiari-Like Malformation.

PLoS One 2017 25;12(1):e0169898. Epub 2017 Jan 25.

School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Objectives: To characterize and compare the phenotypic variables of the hindbrain and craniocervical junction associated with syringomyelia (SM) in the Chihuahua, Affenpinscher and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS).

Method: Analysis of 273 T1-weighted mid-sagittal DICOM sequences of the hindbrain and craniocervical junction from 99 Chihuahuas, 42 Affenpinschers and 132 CKCSs. The study compared 22 morphometric features (11 lines, eight angles and three ratios) of dogs with and without SM using refined techniques based on previous studies of the Griffon Bruxellois (GB) using Discriminant Function Analysis and ANOVA with post-hoc corrections.

Results: The analysis identified 14/22 significant traits for SM in the three dog breeds, five of which were identical to those reported for the GB and suggest inclusion of a common aetiology. One ratio, caudal fossa height to the length of the skull base extended to an imaginary point of alignment between the atlas and supraoccipital bones, was common to all three breeds (p values 0.029 to <0.001). Associated with SM were a reduced occipital crest and two acute changes in angulation i) 'sphenoid flexure' at the spheno-occipital synchondrosis ii) 'cervical flexure' at the foramen magnum allied with medulla oblongata elevation. Comparing dogs with and without SM, each breed had a unique trait: Chihuahua had a smaller angle between the dens, atlas and basioccipital bone (p value < 0.001); Affenpinschers had a smaller distance from atlas to dens (p value 0.009); CKCS had a shorter distance between the spheno-occipital synchondrosis and atlas (p value 0.007).

Conclusion: The selected morphometries successfully characterised conformational changes in the brain and craniocervical junction that might form the basis of a diagnostic tool for all breeds. The severity of SM involved a spectrum of abnormalities, incurred by changes in both angulation and size that could alter neural parenchyma compliance and/or impede cerebrospinal fluid channels.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169898PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5266279PMC
August 2017

Identification of a common risk haplotype for canine idiopathic epilepsy in the ADAM23 gene.

BMC Genomics 2015 Jun 18;16:465. Epub 2015 Jun 18.

Research Programs Unit, Molecular Neurology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Idiopathic epilepsy is a common neurological disease in human and domestic dogs but relatively few risk genes have been identified to date. The seizure characteristics, including focal and generalised seizures, are similar between the two species, with gene discovery facilitated by the reduced genetic heterogeneity of purebred dogs. We have recently identified a risk locus for idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd breed on a 4.4 megabase region on CFA37.

Results: We have expanded a previous study replicating the association with a combined analysis of 157 cases and 179 controls in three additional breeds: Schipperke, Finnish Spitz and Beagle (p(c) = 2.9e-07, p(GWAS) = 1.74E-02). A targeted resequencing of the 4.4 megabase region in twelve Belgian Shepherd cases and twelve controls with opposite haplotypes identified 37 case-specific variants within the ADAM23 gene. Twenty-seven variants were validated in 285 cases and 355 controls from four breeds, resulting in a strong replication of the ADAM23 locus (p(raw) = 2.76e-15) and the identification of a common 28 kb-risk haplotype in all four breeds. Risk haplotype was present in frequencies of 0.49-0.7 in the breeds, suggesting that ADAM23 is a low penetrance risk gene for canine epilepsy.

Conclusions: These results implicate ADAM23 in common canine idiopathic epilepsy, although the causative variant remains yet to be identified. ADAM23 plays a role in synaptic transmission and interacts with known epilepsy genes, LGI1 and LGI2, and should be considered as a candidate gene for human epilepsies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-1651-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470040PMC
June 2015

A missense change in the ATG4D gene links aberrant autophagy to a neurodegenerative vacuolar storage disease.

PLoS Genet 2015 Apr 15;11(4):e1005169. Epub 2015 Apr 15.

Institute of Genetics, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Inherited neurodegenerative disorders are debilitating diseases that occur across different species. We have performed clinical, pathological and genetic studies to characterize a novel canine neurodegenerative disease present in the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed. Affected dogs suffer from progressive cerebellar ataxia, sometimes accompanied by episodic nystagmus and behavioral changes. Histological examination revealed unique pathological changes, including profound neuronal cytoplasmic vacuolization in the nervous system, as well as spheroid formation and cytoplasmic aggregation of vacuoles in secretory epithelial tissues and mesenchymal cells. Genetic analyses uncovered a missense change, c.1288G>A; p.A430T, in the autophagy-related ATG4D gene on canine chromosome 20 with a highly significant disease association (p = 3.8 x 10-136) in a cohort of more than 2300 Lagotto Romagnolo dogs. ATG4D encodes a poorly characterized cysteine protease belonging to the macroautophagy pathway. Accordingly, our histological analyses indicated altered autophagic flux in affected tissues. The knockdown of the zebrafish homologue atg4da resulted in a widespread developmental disturbance and neurodegeneration in the central nervous system. Our study describes a previously unknown canine neurological disease with particular pathological features and implicates the ATG4D protein as an important autophagy mediator in neuronal homeostasis. The canine phenotype serves as a model to delineate the disease-causing pathological mechanism(s) and ATG4D function, and can also be used to explore treatment options. Furthermore, our results reveal a novel candidate gene for human neurodegeneration and enable the development of a genetic test for veterinary diagnostic and breeding purposes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1005169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4398399PMC
April 2015

Cerebral glucose utilization measured with high resolution positron emission tomography in epileptic Finnish Spitz dogs and healthy dogs.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2014 Jul-Aug;55(4):453-61. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia.

In human epileptic patients, changes in cerebral glucose utilization can be detected 2-deoxy-2-[(18) F] fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). The purpose of this prospective study was to determine whether epileptic dogs might show similar findings. Eleven Finnish Spitz dogs with focal idiopathic epilepsy and six healthy dogs were included. Dogs were examined using electroencephalography (EEG) and FDG-PET, with epileptic dogs being evaluated during the interictal period. Visual and semi-quantitative assessment methods of FDG-PET were compared and contrasted with EEG findings. Three independent observers, unaware of dog clinical status, detected FDG-PET uptake abnormalities in 9/11 epileptic (82%), and 4/8 healthy dogs (50%). Occipital cortex findings were significantly associated with epileptic status (P = 0.013). Epileptic dogs had significantly lower standardized uptake values (SUVs) in numerous cortical regions, the cerebellum, and the hippocampus compared to the control dogs. The lowest SUVs were found in the occipital lobe. White matter normalized and left-right asymmetry index values for all pairs of homologous regions did not differ between groups. Visual evaluation of the EEGs was less sensitive (36%) than FDG-PET. Both diagnostic tests were consensual and specific (100%) for occipital findings, but EEG had a lower sensitivity for detecting lateralized foci than FDG-PET. Findings supported the use of FDG-PET as a diagnostic test for dogs with suspected idiopathic epilepsy. Visual and semiquantitative analyses of FDG-PET scans provided complementary information. Findings also supported the theory that epileptogenesis may occur in multiple brain regions in Finnish Spitz dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vru.12147DOI Listing
March 2015

FDG-PET in healthy and epileptic Lagotto Romagnolo dogs and changes in brain glucose uptake with age.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2014 May-Jun;55(3):331-41. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Regional cerebral metabolism and blood flow can be measured noninvasively with positron emission tomography (PET). 2-[(18) F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) widely serves as a PET tracer in human patients with epilepsy to identify the seizure focus. The goal of this prospective study was to determine whether juvenile or adult dogs with focal-onset epilepsy exhibit abnormal cerebral glucose uptake interictally and whether glucose uptake changes with age. We used FDG-PET to examine six Lagotto Romagnolo dogs with juvenile epilepsy, two dogs with adult-onset epilepsy, and five control dogs of the same breed at different ages. Three researchers unaware of dog clinical status visually analyzed co-registered PET and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images. Results of the visual PET analyses were compared with electroencephalography (EEG) results. In semiquantitative analysis, relative standard uptake values (SUV) of regions of interest (ROI) drawn to different brain regions were compared between epileptic and control dogs. Visual analysis revealed areas of hypometabolism interictally in five out of six dogs with juvenile epilepsy in the occipital, temporal, and parietal cortex. Changes in EEG occurred in three of these dogs in the same areas where PET showed cortical hypometabolism. Visual analysis showed no abnormalities in cerebral glucose uptake in dogs with adult-onset epilepsy. Semiquantitative analysis detected no differences between epileptic and control dogs. This result emphasizes the importance of visual analysis in FDG-PET studies of epileptic dogs. A change in glucose uptake was also detected with age. Glucose uptake values increased between dog ages of 8 and 28 weeks and then remained constant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vru.12129DOI Listing
January 2015

LGI2 truncation causes a remitting focal epilepsy in dogs.

PLoS Genet 2011 Jul 28;7(7):e1002194. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Department of Medical Genetics, Research Programs Unit, Molecular Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

One quadrillion synapses are laid in the first two years of postnatal construction of the human brain, which are then pruned until age 10 to 500 trillion synapses composing the final network. Genetic epilepsies are the most common neurological diseases with onset during pruning, affecting 0.5% of 2-10-year-old children, and these epilepsies are often characterized by spontaneous remission. We previously described a remitting epilepsy in the Lagotto romagnolo canine breed. Here, we identify the gene defect and affected neurochemical pathway. We reconstructed a large Lagotto pedigree of around 34 affected animals. Using genome-wide association in 11 discordant sib-pairs from this pedigree, we mapped the disease locus to a 1.7 Mb region of homozygosity in chromosome 3 where we identified a protein-truncating mutation in the Lgi2 gene, a homologue of the human epilepsy gene LGI1. We show that LGI2, like LGI1, is neuronally secreted and acts on metalloproteinase-lacking members of the ADAM family of neuronal receptors, which function in synapse remodeling, and that LGI2 truncation, like LGI1 truncations, prevents secretion and ADAM interaction. The resulting epilepsy onsets at around seven weeks (equivalent to human two years), and remits by four months (human eight years), versus onset after age eight in the majority of human patients with LGI1 mutations. Finally, we show that Lgi2 is expressed highly in the immediate post-natal period until halfway through pruning, unlike Lgi1, which is expressed in the latter part of pruning and beyond. LGI2 acts at least in part through the same ADAM receptors as LGI1, but earlier, ensuring electrical stability (absence of epilepsy) during pruning years, preceding this same function performed by LGI1 in later years. LGI2 should be considered a candidate gene for common remitting childhood epilepsies, and LGI2-to-LGI1 transition for mechanisms of childhood epilepsy remission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002194DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145619PMC
July 2011

Electroencephalography findings in healthy and Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy: visual and background quantitative analysis.

J Vet Intern Med 2007 Nov-Dec;21(6):1299-306

Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Qualitative and quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) parameters of healthy and Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy have not been determined.

Objective: To determine if EEG can provide specific characteristics to distinguish between healthy dogs and dogs with epilepsy.

Animals: Sixteen healthy and 15 Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy.

Methods: A prospective clinical EEG study performed under medetomidine sedation. Blinded visual and quantitative EEG analyses were performed and results were compared between study groups.

Results: Benign epileptiform transients of sleep and sleep spindles were a frequent finding in a majority of animals from both groups. The EEG analysis detected epileptiform activity in 3 Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy and in 1 healthy Finnish Spitz dog. Epileptiform activity was characterized by spikes, polyspikes, and spike slow wave complexes in posterior-occipital derivation in dogs with epilepsy and with midline spikes in control dog. The healthy dogs showed significantly less theta and beta activity than did the dogs with epilepsy (P < .01), but the only significant difference between healthy dogs and dogs with untreated epilepsy was in the alpha band (P < .001). Phenobarbital treatment increased alpha, beta (P < .001), and theta (P < .01), and decreased delta (P < .001) frequency bands compared with dogs with untreated epilepsy.

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: Benign epileptiform transients of sleep could be easily misinterpreted as epileptiform activity. Epileptiform activity in Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy seems to originate from a posterior-occipital location. The EEG of dogs with epilepsy exhibited a significant difference in background frequency bands compared with the control dogs. Phenobarbital treatment markedly influenced all background activity bands. Quantitative EEG analysis, in addition to visual analysis, seems to be a useful tool in the examination of patients with epilepsy.
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February 2008
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