Age and diet affect gene expression profiles in canine liver tissue

Dong Yong Kil, Brittany M.Vester Boler, Carolyn J. Apanavicius, Lawrence B. Schook, Kelly S. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The liver plays a central role in nutrient and xenobiotic metabolism, but its functionality declines with age. Senior dogs suffer from many of the chronic hepatic diseases as elderly humans, with age-related alterations in liver function influenced by diet. However, a large-scale molecular analysis of the liver tissue as affected by age and diet has not been reported in dogs. Methodology/Principal Findings: Liver tissue samples were collected from six senior (12-year old) and six young adult (1-year old) female beagles fed an animal protein-based diet (APB) or a plant protein-based diet (PPB) for 12 months. Total RNA in the liver tissue was extracted and hybridized to Affymetrix GeneChip® Canine Genome Arrays. Using a 2.0-fold cutoff and false discovery rate, 0.10, our results indicated that expression of 234 genes was altered by age, while 137 genes were differentially expressed by diet. Based on functional classification, genes affected by age and/or diet were involved in cellular development, nutrient metabolism, and signal transduction. In general, gene expression suggested that senior dogs had an increased risk of the progression of liver disease and dysfunction, as observed in aged humans and rodents. In particular for aged liver, genes related to inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycolysis were up-regulated, whereas genes related to regeneration, xenobiotic metabolism, and cholesterol trafficking were down-regulated. Diet-associated changes in gene expression were more common in young adult dogs (33 genes) as compared to senior dogs (3 genes). Conclusion: Our results provide molecular insight pertaining to the aged canine liver and its predisposition to disease and abnormalities. Therefore, our data may aid in future research pertaining to age-associated alterations in hepatic function or identification of potential targets for nutritional management as a means to decrease incidence of age-dependent liver dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13319
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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