Evaluation of Ki-67, goblet cell and MUC2 mucin RNA expression in dogs with lymphoplasmacytic and granulomatous colitis

Chelsea Lim, Julien Dandrieux, Richard Ploeg, Cameron J. Nowell, Simon M Firestone, Caroline Sarah Mansfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Intestinal mucus barrier disruption may occur with chronic inflammatory enteropathies. The lack of studies evaluating mucus health in dogs with chronic colitis arises from inherent challenges with assessment of the intestinal mucus layer. It is therefore unknown if reduced goblet cell (GBC) numbers and/or mucin 2 (MUC2) expression, which are responsible for mucus production and secretion, correlate with inflammation severity in dogs with granulomatous colitis (GC) or lymphocytic-plasmacytic colitis (LPC). It is undetermined if Ki-67 immunoreactivity, which has been evaluated in dogs with small intestinal inflammation, similarly correlates to histologic severity in GC and LPC. Study objectives included comparing Ki-67 immunoreactivity, GBC population and MUC2 expression in dogs with GC, LPC and non-inflamed colon; and exploring the use of ribonucleic acid (RNAscope®) in-situ hybridization (ISH) to evaluate MUC2 expression in canine colon. Formalin-fixed endoscopic colonic biopsies were obtained from 48 dogs over an eight-year period. A blinded pathologist reviewed all biopsies. Dogs were classified into the GC (n=19), LPC (n=19) or no colitis (NC) (n=10) group based on final histopathological diagnosis. Ki-67 immunohistochemistry, Alcian-Blue/PAS staining to highlight GBCs, and RNAscope® ISH using customized canine MUC2-targeted probes were performed. At least five microscopic fields per dog were selected to measure Ki-67 labelling index (KI67%), GBC staining percentage (GBC%) and MUC2 expression (MUC2%) using image analysis software. Spearman's correlation coefficients were used to determine associations between World Small Animal Veterinary Association histologic score (WHS) and measured variables. Linear regression models were used to compare relationships between WHS with KI67%, GBC%, and MUC2%; and between GBC% and MUC2%. Median WHS was highest in dogs with GC. Median KI67% normalised to WHS was highest in the NC group (6.69%; range, 1.70–23.60%). Median GBC% did not correlate with colonic inflammation overall. Median MUC2% normalised to WHS in the NC group (10.02%; range, 3.05–39.09%) was two- and three-fold higher than in the GC and LPC groups respectively. With increased colonic inflammation, despite minimal changes in GBC% overall, MUC2 expression markedly declined in the LPC group (-27.4%; 95%-CI, −49.8, 5.9%) and mildly declined in the GC and NC groups. Granulomatous colitis and LPC likely involve different pathways regulating MUC2 expression. Decreased MUC2 gene expression is observed in dogs with chronic colitis compared to dogs without colonic signs. Changes in MUC2 expression appear influenced by GBC activity rather than quantity in GC and LPC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110740
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Early online date16 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Colon
  • canine
  • inflammation
  • mucus
  • immunohistochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of Ki-67, goblet cell and MUC2 mucin RNA expression in dogs with lymphoplasmacytic and granulomatous colitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this