The diversity of maternal and paternal haplotypes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region of the genome is linked to certain autoimmune diseases in dogs. Less diverse MHC haplotypes result in lower immunological diversity. Dogs with highly dissimilar haplotypes have high diversity, while those with similar but not identical haplotypes have low diversity. Identical haplotypes from both parents indicate no diversity. The MHC genes are essential for immune responses, and variability is crucial for identifying and eliminating foreign pathogens. However, more research is needed to understand the link between DLA types and common diseases in dogs.
Dogs that have less diversity in the MHC region haplotypes (i.e., the Dog Leukocyte Antigen (DLA) inherited from the mother is similar to the DLA inherited from the father) are considered less immunologically diverse.
- High Diversity means the dog has two highly dissimilar haplotypes.
- Low Diversity means the dog has two similar, but not identical, haplotypes.
- No Diversity means the dog has inherited identical haplotypes from both parents.
There is still much to learn about MHC/DLA in dogs, and more structured studies published in peer-reviewed journals are needed to draw any specific conclusions. The MHC genes help in identifying the dog's own tissue as well as the identification and elimination of foreign pathogens. Variability appears to be crucial to these immune genes, enabling them to react to different viruses, bacteria, and other foreign intruders. However, the veterinary scientific community is still working to figure out which of the various DLA types are present more often in dogs suffering from common diseases with an immune component, and if there is a link between their presence and development of the disease.
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