BACKGROUND: Ex vivo whole blood stimulation assays (WBSA) have been used to characterize the cytokine response to diet in cats. The present study aimed to use this assay to determine the cytokine response to diets being fed at the time of diagnosis to dogs with chronic enteropathy (CE) and to compare this to a control group of dogs presented for non-gastrointestinal (GI) causes.
RESULTS: Dogs with chronic GI signs and dogs presented for non-GI causes were prospectively recruited. For each case, residual blood following diagnostic sampling was placed into heparin. WBSAs were performed using crude extracts of the diet currently being fed and provided by the owner. Supernatants were collected and analyzed for tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-4 using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The case group consisted of 22 dogs with CE diagnosed on histopathology of GI biopsy and 9 with suspected CE. The non-GI group consisted of 18 dogs. Of the diets being fed at or prior to diagnosis, hydrolyzed protein diets elicited significantly lower IL-10 and TNF-alpha concentrations compared to commercial intact protein diets in dogs with confirmed or suspected CE (P-value 0.004 and < 0.001, respectively). Six out of 15 dogs with detectable IL-4 concentrations in the confirmed CE group had IL-4 to IL-10 ratios that exceeded the 95% confidence interval (CI) of the mean of the non-GI group (non-GI: 95% CI of IL-4:IL-10 = 0.64-2.71; confirmed CE: IL-4:IL-10 in 6 dogs = mean 22.40, range 2.77-89.11).
CONCLUSIONS: Hydrolyzed protein diets elicited a significantly reduced cytokine response when incubated with patient whole blood ex vivo compared to commercial intact protein diets in dogs with CE. The IL-4 to IL-10 ratio as a marker of dietary responsiveness warrants further investigation, together with assessment of the cytokine response to diet at the intestinal mucosal surface.
- Chronic Disease
- Dietary Proteins/pharmacology
- Dog Diseases/immunology
- Intestinal Diseases/immunology
- Prospective Studies