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Genetic variant of drug transporter gene in cats predisposes to drug toxicity

October 1, 2015
A research team in the Program in Individualized Medicine identified a mutation in a gene encoding a drug transporter that is a key component of the blood brain barrier.  The Animal Poison Control Center contacted Dr. Katrina Mealey when a cat that experienced neurological toxicity after being treated for ear mites.  Using DNA from that cat, a 2 base pair deletion was identified in the ABCB1 gene (ABCB11930_1931del TC) .  Mealey and her team then sequenced the gene in 100 other cats from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s DNA Bank and found that approximately 4% of cats have the genetic defect.  By knowing which cats have the genetic defect prior to treatment for ear mites (and other diseases), veterinarians can use alternative treatments and prevent adverse drug reactions in cats.
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