, Volume 71, Issue 5–6, pp 373–382 | Cite as

DLA class II haplotypes show sex-specific associations with primary hypoadrenocorticism in Standard Poodle dogs

  • Amy E. Treeful
  • Aaron K. Rendahl
  • Steven G. FriedenbergEmail author
Original Article


Addison’s disease (AD) is a life-threatening endocrine disorder that occurs spontaneously in both humans and dogs. Associations between MHC class II genes and AD have been shown in several human studies. Our goal was to identify MHC class II associations with AD in a large population of Standard Poodles, a breed highly predisposed to AD. We sequenced exon 2 of the class II genes DLA-DRB1, DLA-DQA1, and DLA-DQB1 in 110 affected and 101 unaffected Standard Poodles and tested for association with AD. After correcting for population structure, two haplotypes were found to confer risk of developing AD in a sex-specific manner: DLA-DRB1*015:01-DQA1*006:01-DQB1*023:01 in males (x2p = 0.03, OR 2.1) and DLA-DRB1*009:01-DQA1*001:01-DQB1*008:01:1 in females (x2p = 0.02, OR 8.43). Sex-specific associations have been previously described in human populations, but this is the first report of this kind in dogs. Consistent with findings in other studies, we found the DLA-DQA1*006:01 allele (x2p = 0.04) to be associated with AD in males independent of haplotype. In females, the haplotype DLA-DRB1*009:01-DQA1*001:01-DQB1*008:01:1 confers a very high risk for developing AD, although its frequency was rare (9 of 124 females) in our study population. Further studies are warranted to validate the findings of this exploratory dataset and to assess the usefulness of this haplotype as a risk marker for AD in female Standard Poodles. Our results highlight the importance of evaluating MHC class II disease associations in large populations, and accounting for both biological sex and population structure.


Canine Hypoadrenocorticism Autoimmune disease DLA Major histocompatibility complex class II 



Dr. Lorna Kennedy graciously provided us with a database of known canine MHC class II alleles.

Funding information

This study was funded, in part, by a grant from the Poodle Club of America Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Blood samples were collected at the University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Informed consent

Signed consent forms, approved by each institution’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, were collected from the owners of each study participant as part of the enrollment process.

Supplementary material

251_2019_1113_MOESM1_ESM.docx (45 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy E. Treeful
    • 1
  • Aaron K. Rendahl
    • 2
  • Steven G. Friedenberg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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