Canine atopic dermatitis is a genetically predisposed inflammatory and pruritic skin disease. In humans, increasing evidence suggests atopic dermatitis may be systemic. Experimental studies have shown an increase in CD34+ progenitor cells in humans with atopic dermatitis. The main source of these cells is the bone marrow. CD34+ cells have not yet been confirmed in canine peripheral blood.

In this study, flow cytometry was used to identify and measure the number of CD34+ cells from 13 healthy dogs, 16 dogs with nonallergic inflammatory diseases, and 27 dogs with nonfoodinduced atopic dermatitis. Clinical data included the Canine Atopic Dermatitis and Severity Index for clinical signs and client-scored visual analog scale for pruritus. The mean number of CD34+ cells was significantly higher in dogs with atopic dermatitis as compared with the other 2 groups; there was no difference between the inflammatory and control groups. There was no correlation between the number of CD34+ cells and the severity index or analog scale scores. Future studies could investigate the potential utility of monitoring CD34+ cell counts to assess of treatment response.

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