A mutated gene that causes recessive disease in American Pit Bull Terriers was found to be similar to the human gene variant causing neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) – an often fatal disease that begins with motor and mental degeneration. Scientists believe the findings would aid research in developing a cure on NCLs, as well as help in screening and early diagnosis of the ailment in dogs.
The fatal neurodegenerative disease in adult terriers is strikingly similar to Kufs’ disease in humans, an adult-onset NCL that causes brain neurons to wither gradually, leading to loss of vision and motor skills, epilepsy and dementia. Researchers hope to do tests on the mutated canine gene to determine if the same mutation process leads to the Kufs’ disease in humans.
Image Credit: Señor Hans