Objective—To identify a causative mutation for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Doberman Pinschers by sequencing the coding regions of 10 cardiac genes known to be associated with familial DCM in humans.
Animals—5 Doberman Pinschers with DCM and congestive heart failure and 5 control mixed-breed dogs that were euthanized or died.
Procedures—RNA was extracted from frozen ventricular myocardial samples from each dog, and first-strand cDNA was synthesized via reverse transcription, followed by PCR amplification with gene-specific primers. Ten cardiac genes were analyzed: cardiac actin, α-actinin, α-tropomyosin, β-myosin heavy chain, metavinculin, muscle LIM protein, myosinbinding protein C, tafazzin, titin-cap (telethonin), and troponin T. Sequences for DCM-affected and control dogs and the published canine genome were compared.
Results—None of the coding sequences yielded a common causative mutation among all Doberman Pinscher samples. However, 3 variants were identified in the α-actinin gene in the DCM-affected Doberman Pinschers. One of these variants, identified in 2 of the 5 Doberman Pinschers, resulted in an amino acid change in the rod-forming triple coiled-coil domain.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Mutations in the coding regions of several genes associated with DCM in humans did not appear to consistently account for DCM in Doberman Pinschers. However, an α-actinin variant was detected in some Doberman Pinschers that may contribute to the development of DCM given its potential effect on the structure of this protein. Investigation of additional candidate gene coding and noncoding regions and further evaluation of the role of α-actinin in development of DCM in Doberman Pinschers are warranted.