Objective - To evaluate intestinal permeability and gluten sensitivity in a family of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers (SCWT) affected with protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), protein-losing nephropathy (PLN), or both. Animals - 6 affected adult dogs. Procedure - Intestinal biopsy specimens, urine protein-to-creatinine ratio, serum concentrations of albumin and globulin, and concentration of α1-protease inhibitor in feces were evaluated before, during, and 13 weeks after daily administration of 10 g of gluten for 7 weeks. Eosinophils and lymphocytes-plasmacytes were enumerated in intestinal biopsy specimens. Intestinal permeability was evaluated before and during the sixth week of gluten administration via cellobiose-mannitol and chromium-EDTA absorption tests. Results - Serum globulin concentration decreased significantly after prolonged administration of gluten. Although not significant, there was an increase in lymphocytes-plasmacytes and a decrease in eosinophils in intestinal biopsy specimens. Furthermore, these counts were greater than those reported for clinically normal dogs. Gluten administration did not increase intestinal permeability. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Daily administration of gluten was associated with a significant decrease in serum globulin concentration in SCWT affected with PLE or PLN, but other variables remained unchanged. Although enhanced wheatgluten sensitivity may be one factor involved in the pathogenesis of PLE or PLN in SCWT, this syndrome does not appear to be the result of a specific sensitivity to gluten.
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