Objective—To establish a sensitive test for the detection of autoantibodies against thyroid peroxidase (TPO) in canine serum samples.
Sample Population—365 serum samples from dogs with hypothyroidism as determined on the basis of serum concentrations of total and free triiodothyronine (T3), total and free thyroxine (T4), and thyroidstimulating hormone, of which 195 (53%) had positive results for at least 1 of 3 thyroid autoantibodies (against thyroglobulin [Tg], T4, or T3) and serum samples from 28 healthy dogs (control samples).
Procedure—TPO was purified from canine thyroid glands by extraction with detergents, ultracentrifugation, and precipitation with ammonium sulfate. Screening for anti-TPO autoantibodies in canine sera was performed by use of an immunoblot assay. Thyroid extract containing TPO was separated electrophoretically, blotted, and probed with canine sera. Alkaline phosphatase–conjugated rabbit anti-dog IgG was used for detection of bound antibodies.
Results—TPO bands were observed at 110, 100, and 40 kd. Anti-TPO autoantibodies against the 40-kd fragment were detected in 33 (17%) sera of dogs with positive results for anti-Tg, anti-T4, or anti-T3 autoantibodies but not in sera of hypothyroid dogs without these autoantibodies or in sera of healthy dogs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The immunoblot assay was a sensitive and specific method for the detection of autoantibodies because it also provided information about the antigen. Anti-TPO autoantibodies were clearly detected in a fraction of hypothyroid dogs. The value of anti-TPO autoantibodies for use in early diagnosis of animals with thyroid gland diseases should be evaluated in additional studies.