– a name derived from the Greek word for fish – is a condition where the skin becomes scaly and hard rather than soft and supple, and it’s often due to inherited gene faults. Over the years, scientists have found many genes implicated in ichthyosis. Several of these were first identified in dogs – including terriers, retrievers and bulldogs – which also suffer from the condition. These images show samples of skin from a German Shepherd dog with ichthyosis (top panels), which have been stained with green fluorescent dyes that highlight two important molecules involved in skin formation, ASPRV1
(left) and fillagrin
(right). DNA in the skin cells is stained blue. The patterns are very different in skin from a healthy dog (bottom panels), and genetic analysis reveals that this case of ichthyosis is caused by an unusual fault in ASPRV1. Perhaps this gene could also be involved in some human patients too.
Written by Kat Arney