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Disease severity-associated gene expression in canine myxomatous mitral valve disease is dominated by TGFß signalling

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2020 Markby, Macrae, Summers and Corcoran. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in genetics
Early online date27 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2020


Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is the most common acquired canine cardiovascular disease and shares many similarities with human mitral valvulopathies. While transcriptomic datasets are available for the end-stage disease in both species, there is no information on how gene expression changes as the disease progresses, such that it cannot be stated with certainty if the changes seen in end-stage disease are casual or consequential. In contrast to humans, the disease in dogs can be more readily examined as it progresses, and this allows an opportunity for insight into disease pathogenesis relevant to both species. The aim of this study was to identify changes in valve gene expression as canine MMVD advances over an entire life-time, from normal (grade 0) to severely affected (grade 4), and differences in gene expression comparing normal and disease areas of the same valve. Transcriptomic profiling identified 1002 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) across all four disease grades when compared with normal valves with the greatest number of DEGs in grade 3 (673) and grade 4 (507). DEGs were associated with a large number of gene families, including genes encoding cytoskeletal filaments, peptidases, extra-cellular matrix (ECM) proteins, chemokines and integrins. Gene enrichment analysis identified significant grade-dependent changes in gene clustering, with clusters trending both up and down as disease progressed. Significant grade-dependent changes in hallmark disease gene expression intensity were identified, including ACTA2, HTR2B, MMP12 and CDKN2A. Gene Ontology terms were dominated by terms for ECM and inflammation with TGFβ1, TNF, IFGN identified as the top up-stream regulators in both whole and dissected diseased valve samples. These data show that while disease progression in MMVD is associated with increasing numbers of DEGs, TGFβ appears to be the dominant signalling pathway controlling pathogenesis irrespective of disease severity

    Research areas

  • myxomatous mitral valve disease, gene expression, canine, transforming growth factor β

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