The exact aetiology of canine sino-nasal aspergillosis (SNA) is unknown. In man, dysfunction in innate immunity, particularly in the function of pattern recognition receptors, is implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory sino-nasal disease and in fungal diseases. Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and these diseases have been identified. Similarly, in dogs SNPs in genes encoding TLRs may be important in the pathogenesis of SNA. The aims of the present study were (1) to identify the presence of non-synonymous SNPs in the coding regions of the TLR2, 4 and 9 genes in dogs suffering from SNA, and (2) to investigate the SNP genotypes in dogs with SNA compared with a control population.
Direct sequencing of nine dogs of various breeds with SNA revealed two non-synonymous SNPs in the coding region of TLR2, eight in TLR4 and four in TLR9. These non-synonymous SNPs were further evaluated in a case-control study of affected Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers and Beaucerons. Genotyping was performed using a combination of allele-specific primers and hydrolysis probe assays in 31 dogs with SNA and 31controls. No significant difference in minor allele frequency was identified between these groups, for all studied SNPs, in any of the four breeds.
These findings do not support a role for non-synonymous SNPs in the TLR 2, 4 and 9 coding regions in the pathogenesis of canine SNA, but do not exclude a role for innate immunity in the pathogenesis of the disease.