Research in Heart Disease
Update on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Project
Professor Brendan Corcoran and Mr Chi-Chien (Fox) Liu

The project is progressing well and what we have done is summarised here as an up-date based around the original aims.


1. Is the pathology of MMVD in the CKCS different from that in other breeds of dogs or is the disease the same irrespective of breed type?

This part of the study has been completed and the results submitted for publication to The Veterinary Journal, with suitable acknowledgment of the support of the CKCS Club and those kind CKCS owners that have allowed us to collect valves from their beloved pets. The study demonstrated that the damage that occurs to the CKCS valve is the same as occurs to non-CKCS dogs, and in that respect the CKCS is not unique when describing the pathology of this disease.

2. Is MMVD in CKCSs triggered by damage to the endothelial cells lining the valve surface?

This part of the study is on-going and has included isolating and growing canine valve endothelial cells, generating pure clones (each cell an exact copy of each other), monitoring response to different agents, growing cells in a form of artificial valve and physically injuring the cells. Further work is to be done with the plan to complete by end of 2013.

3. Is there increased expression of genes normally associated with development in disease valves?

This part of the project is on-going. Material has been collected from enough valves to allow the gene analysis to be undertaken. There were issues with the quality of genes extracted and that has delayed processing. The gene data should be available in the next few weeks and then will be analysed. On the basis of these results some aspects of Aim 2 will be addressed further.

So far we have been happy with the progress of the project and are confident it will provide new information about mitral valve disease in the CKCS and other dogs.

Brendan Corcoran
10th February 2013
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