Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden and the Broad
Institute of MIT and Harvard have reported that the gene mutation
which is responsible for the wrinkled skin of Shar-Pei dogs has also been linked
to a periodic fever disorder in the breed. This finding can have important health
implications for humans since the periodic fever disorder is similar to the
inherited auto inflammatory periodic fever syndromes in humans which cause
uncontrolled inflammation throughout the body.
Over activation of the gene- hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) causes the thick, wrinkled skin of Shar-Pei dogs. Overproduction of hyaluronan activates the immune system and causes the fever in these dogs.
In 60% cases the genetic cause of periodic fever syndrome in humans is unknown. The finding that excess of hyaluronan causes fever syndromes might help improve the understanding of human inflammatory diseases.