Cutaneous mucinosis in shar-pei dogs is due to hyaluronic acid deposition and is associated with high levels of hyaluronic acid in serum

Zanna, D. Fondevila, M. Bardagí, M. J. Docampo, A. Bassols and L. Ferrer

Veterinary Dermatology Volume 19, Issue 5, pages 314–318, October 2008

Cutaneous mucinosis affects primarily shar-pei dogs. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is considered to be the main component of mucin and CD44 is the major cell surface receptor of HA, necessary for its uptake and catabolism. The aims of this study were to identify the composition of the mucin in cutaneous mucinosis of shar-pei dogs, investigate the correlation between the deposition of HA and the expression of CD44, and determine whether shar-pei dogs with cutaneous mucinosis presented with elevated levels of serum HA. In skin biopsies, the mucinous material was stained intensely with Alcian blue and bound strongly by the hyaluronan-binding protein. No correlation was found between the degree of HA deposition in the dermis and the expression of CD44 in the skin of shar-pei dogs affected or unaffected by cutaneous mucinosis. A clear positive correlation was found between the existence of clinical mucinosis and the serum HA concentration. In control dogs, serum HA ranged from 155.53 to 301.62 µg L−1 in shar-pei dogs; without mucinosis it ranged from 106.72  to 1251.76 µg L−1 and in shar-pei dogs with severe mucinosis it ranged between 843.51  to 2330.03 µg L−1. Altogether, the results reported here suggest that mucinosis of shar-pei dogs is probably the consequence of a genetic defect in the metabolism of HA.