September 01, 2017


 Researchers find biomarkers in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease

Posted Aug. 16, 2017

Researchers at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University have discovered microRNA biomarkers in extracellular vesicles in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease and congestive heart failure.

Extracellular vesicles including exosomes are secreted by cells, spreading signals from cell to cell and circulating in blood. "Circulating exosome microRNA associated with heart failure secondary to myxomatous mitral valve disease in a naturally occurring canine model" appeared online July 12 in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles.

In their analysis, researchers found that the expressions of circulating exosome microRNA not only change with disease progression and development of heart failure in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease but also change solely on the basis of aging in dogs. Additionally, they found that exosome microRNA expression changes appear to be more specific to disease states than the measure of microRNA from plasma without attention to the isolation of exosome microRNA. This suggests that exosome microRNA may offer a novel approach that improves on established methods of monitoring patients with heart disease and other diseases, yet relies on readily available samples such as blood and urine.

In dogs, MMVD is the most common acquired cardiac disease and cause of congestive heart failure, making up two-thirds of all cardiac cases. According to the study, "Plasma ex-miRNA show great promise as biomarkers for MMVD disease monitoring and may also help elucidate the pathophysiology of the disease and subsequently help devise therapeutic strategies."