Now a pharmacologist at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine has discovered
a mutant gene for a key transport protein in the susceptible collies. The gene
codes for P-glycoprotein, a large protein complex that acts to pump
medications out of the brain and back to the bloodstream where they can be
metabolized safely. In the collies that lacked the complete gene for
P-glycoprotein, they do not produce the complete protein and cannot pump out
the medications. The drugs then build within the brain to toxic levels.
P-glycoprotein also helps transport other drugs out of the brain and other
tissues in humans and animals, including popular over-the-counter medications.
Discovery of the mutant P-glycoprotein gene may be a key
step in screening individuals for certain drug susceptibilities or even
pharmaceutical re-design of popular medications to make them safer for all
Contact Katrina Mealey at 509/335-2988,