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1.  Is the presence of abnormal prion protein in the renal glomeruli of feline species presenting with FSE authentic? 
In a recent paper written by Hilbe et al (BMC vet res, 2009), the nature and specificity of the prion protein deposition in the kidney of feline species affected with feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) were clearly considered doubtful. This article was brought to our attention because we published several years ago an immunodetection of abnormal prion protein in the kidney of a cheetah affected with FSE. At this time we were convinced of its specificity but without having all the possibilities to demonstrate it. As previously published by another group, the presence of abnormal prion protein in some renal glomeruli in domestic cats affected with FSE is indeed generally considered as doubtful mainly because of low intensity detected in this organ and because control kidneys from safe animals present also a weak prion immunolabelling. Here we come back on these studies and thought it would be helpful to relay our last data to the readers of BMC Vet res for future reference on this subject.
Here we come back on our material as it is possible to study and demonstrate the specificity of prion immunodetection using the PET-Blot method (Paraffin Embedded Tissue - Blot). It is admitted that this method allows detecting the Proteinase K (PK) resistant form of the abnormal prion protein (PrPres) without any confusion with unspecific immunoreaction. We re-analysed the kidney tissue versus adrenal gland and brain samples from the same cheetah affected with TSE using this PET-Blot method. The PET-Blot analysis revealed specific PrPres detection within the brain, adrenal gland and some glomeruli of the kidney, with a complete identicalness compared to our previous detection using immunohistochemistry. In conclusion, these new data enable us to confirm with assurance the presence of specific abnormal prion protein in the adrenal gland and in the kidney of the cheetah affected with FSE. It also emphasizes the usefulness for the re-examination of any available tissue blocks with the PET-Blot method as a sensitive complementary tool in case of doubtful PrP IHC results.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-41
PMCID: PMC2923130  PMID: 20684771
2.  Does a placebo effect really occur in dogs afflicted by hip osteoarthritis as measured by force platform gait analysis? 
A recent study investigated the therapeutic response of dogs afflicted by hip osteoarthritis when evaluating therapeutic modalities compared to a negative (placebo) control group. Authors suggested a placebo effect based on peak vertical force measurement. In addition, small effect size for each of the tested therapeutics as well as the extremely large sample size needed (>450) to discern therapeutic efficacy using force platform gait analysis were reported. We wish to express our concerns regarding the eligibility criteria used to select the studied cohort, the small effect size, and the placebo effect reported in force platform gait analysis.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-260
PMCID: PMC3878098  PMID: 24359688
Effect size; Dog; Osteoarthritis; Placebo effect; Peak vertical force
3.  Linkages between animal and human health sentinel data 
Introduction
In order to identify priorities for building integrated surveillance systems that effectively model and predict human risk of zoonotic diseases, there is a need for improved understanding of the practical options for linking surveillance data of animals and humans. We conducted an analysis of the literature and characterized the linkage between animal and human health data. We discuss the findings in relation to zoonotic surveillance and the linkage of human and animal data.
Methods
The Canary Database, an online bibliographic database of animal-sentinel studies was searched and articles were classified according to four linkage categories.
Results
465 studies were identified and assigned to linkage categories involving: descriptive, analytic, molecular, or no human outcomes of human and animal health. Descriptive linkage was the most common, whereby both animal and human health outcomes were presented, but without quantitative linkage between the two. Rarely, analytic linkage was utilized in which animal data was used to quantitatively predict human risk. The other two categories included molecular linkage, and no human outcomes, which present health outcomes in animals but not humans.
Discussion
We found limited use of animal data to quantitatively predict human risk and listed the methods from the literature that performed analytic linkage. The lack of analytic linkage in the literature might not be solely related to technological barriers including access to electronic database, statistical software packages, and Geographical Information System (GIS). Rather, the problem might be from a lack of understanding by researchers of the importance of animal data as a 'sentinel' for human health. Researchers performing zoonotic surveillance should be aware of the value of animal-sentinel approaches for predicting human risk and consider analytic methods for linking animal and human data. Qualitative work needs to be done in order to examine researchers' decisions in linkage strategies between animal and human data.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-5-15
PMCID: PMC2679002  PMID: 19389228
4.  Canine candidate genes for dilated cardiomyopathy: annotation of and polymorphic markers for 14 genes 
Background
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a myocardial disease occurring in humans and domestic animals and is characterized by dilatation of the left ventricle, reduced systolic function and increased sphericity of the left ventricle. Dilated cardiomyopathy has been observed in several, mostly large and giant, dog breeds, such as the Dobermann and the Great Dane. A number of genes have been identified, which are associated with dilated cardiomyopathy in the human, mouse and hamster. These genes mainly encode structural proteins of the cardiac myocyte.
Results
We present the annotation of, and marker development for, 14 of these genes of the dog genome, i.e. α-cardiac actin, caveolin 1, cysteine-rich protein 3, desmin, lamin A/C, LIM-domain binding factor 3, myosin heavy polypeptide 7, phospholamban, sarcoglycan δ, titin cap, α-tropomyosin, troponin I, troponin T and vinculin. A total of 33 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms were identified for these canine genes and 11 polymorphic microsatellite repeats were developed.
Conclusion
The presented polymorphisms provide a tool to investigate the role of the corresponding genes in canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy by linkage analysis or association studies.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-3-28
PMCID: PMC2194671  PMID: 17949487

Results 1-4 (4)