Skip to main content

Research Roundup NC State Veterinary Medicine, February 2023

Translational medicine is a pillar of NC State College of Veterinary Medicine research. Our researchers continue to take their laboratory findings and apply them to clinical practice, improving the health of humans and animals across the globe. Here’s a look at their latest work. 

Golden Retriever dog enjoying outdoors at a large grass field

Golden Retrievers Lend a Helping Paw in Muscular Dystrophy Research

Sharla Birch, Michael Lawlor, Thomas Conlon, Lee-Jae Guo, Julie Crudele, Eleanor Hawkins, Peter Nghiem, Mihye Ahn, Hui Meng, Margaret Beatka, Brittany Fickau, Juan Prieto, Martin Styner, Michael Struharik, Courtney Shanks, Kristy Brown, Diane Golebiowski, Amanda Bettis, Cynthia Balog-Alvarez, Nathalie Clement, Kirsten E Coleman, Manuela Corti, Xiufang Pan, Stephen Hauschka, J Patrick Gonzalez, Carl Morris, Joel Schneider, Dongsheng Duan, Jeffrey Chamberlain, Barry J Byrne, Joe Kornegay

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a recessive disorder that affects about 1 in 5,000 newborn human males. In patients with this disorder, there is an absence of the protein dystrophin, which causes ongoing degeneration of the skeletal and cardiac muscle. Golden retriever dogs can suffer from a comparable disorder, called dystrophin-deficient golden retriever muscular dystrophy.  Researchers of both human and animal medicine, including NC State’s Dr. Eleanor Hawkins, collaborated to study whether affected golden retrievers would be a good translational model for exploring whether corrective gene therapy could treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The dogs were treated with an intramuscular injection of AAV-microdystrophin, a form of gene therapy, and proved to be a good model for the study. The results showed promise for AAV-microdystrophin as a treatment option for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Read the full study, published in Science Translational Medicine, to learn more.

Find it here:

Could Factors Like Breed, Location or Coat Color Play a Role in Equine Eye Disorders? 

Lauren Charnock, Michael Davidson, Deborah Keys, Brian Gilger, Richard McMullen Jr.

Using what is considered the largest collection and analysis of refractive data of ophthalmologically normal horses from a variety of breeds and ages, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dr. Brian Gilger and Dr. Michael Davidson recently evaluated the frequency of naturally occurring refractive errors. These errors include types of vision problems like near- and farsightedness that make it hard to see clearly. The study also looked at whether there were any associations between these refractive errors and breed, age, coat color, iris color, gender and geographic location of horses. Having a better understanding of whether these associations exist could help ophthalmologists provide better treatment and further research on ophthalmic diseases. The results, published in Veterinary Ophthalmology, found that sex, iris color and geographic location appear to affect refraction in horses.

Ready the study here:

Building an Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program in Veterinary Medicine

Juliana M Ruzante, Beth Harris, Paul Plummer, Raissa R Raineri, John Dustin Loy, Megan Jacob, Orhan Sahin, Amanda J Kreuder

Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem affecting human, animal, plant and environmental health by threatening our ability to effectively treat bacterial infections. In the U.S., there are significant efforts and tools to research, monitor and combat antimicrobial resistance in human medicine but not in veterinary medicine. This paper, co-authored by Dr. Megan Jacob, reviews the current antimicrobial resistance surveillance used in veterinary medicine in the United States and discusses how using data from veterinary diagnostic laboratories to build a comprehensive surveillance program could lead to more stewardship support and better efforts to help control antimicrobial resistance in both humans and animals.

Learn more about this important topic by reading the full study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.Read it here:

Potential Treatment for Porcine Syndrome Shows Promise Against Flu and Coronavirus

Alba Frias-De-Diego, Jessica Gilbertie, Frank Scholle, Sarah Dejarnette, Elisa Crisci

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome is a tremendously devastating disease whose spread can have a severe impact on the swine industry worldwide. Right now, scientists’ methods of controlling and preventing the spread of the virus rely solely on biosafety measures and vaccinations. However, due to the high mutation rate of the virus, vaccines are only partially effective against newly emerging strains. In order to reduce the spread and burden of this disease, a team of researchers that included Dr. Elisa Crisci and graduate student Alba Frias-De-Diego, studied the in vitro antiviral effect of a novel platelet-rich plasma-derived biologic termed BIO-PLYTM. The results of the study, published in Viruses, showed that BIO-PLYTM significantly reduces the amount of viral load and the number of infectious viral particles in infected swine. Additionally, the study also shows exciting data on the effect of BIO-PLYTM on other RNA viruses such as human A influenza viruses and coronavirus.

Read it here:

Finding the Underlying Clinical Causes of Cognitive Decline in Aging Dogs 

Michael Khan, Alejandra Mondino, Katharine Russell, Beth Case, Gilad Fefer, Hope Woods, Natasha Olby, Margaret Gruen

Aside from the normal changes that come from aging, dogs can also develop Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or CCDS, a disorder that can cause disorientation, changes to social interactions, changes in activity, worsening memory, deficiency in learning and increased anxiety. Studies in canine cognition have shown that older dogs tend to perform worse than younger dogs in tasks involving attention and learning. However, most of the data we have was gathered through owner questionnaires and their own observations. Researchers can use this to subjectively quantify the behavioral changes, but it is clinically important to address the underlying causes. Therefore, a team of researchers from our Department of Clinical Sciences organized a study to evaluate a dog’s engagement with an impossible task as a measure of motivation to fulfill it. By assessing the overall engagement with the task, the team observed parallels with other cognitive tests and owner questionnaires about their pet’s cognitive function, getting researchers  closer to understanding the etiology behind CCDS.

The study was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.Read the study here:

Research Connection: From Humans to Horses, Improving Treatment for Intestinal Injuries with Dr. Liara Gonzalez

Intestinal injuries caused by myriad diseases can be severely debilitating to both veterinary and human patients, but how can equine colic and human gastrointestinal disease be linked? And how can we solve both? Here, we talk to Associate Professor Liara Gonzalez, whose Intestinal Regenerative Medicine lab group is hard at work developing and using large animal models to study intestinal stem cell biology. The lab’s goal is to advance laboratory techniques to solve clinically significant problems and uncover further therapeutic targets, ultimately improving patient survival in both humans and horses.