Manasquan, NJ (June 11, 2007) ” The Winn Feline Foundation is pleased to announce the identification of a new mutation within the myosin binding protein C gene associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in Ragdoll cats. With funding from Winn Feline Foundation, researchers led by Dr. Kathryn M. Meurs of Washington State University, and others at the University of California, Davis, reported that the mutation in the myosin binding protein C gene changes a conserved amino acid and therefore appears to alter the structure of the protein produced by the gene. An earlier study by these same researchers, also funded by Winn Feline Foundation, identified a mutation in this same gene in the Maine Coon cat. However, the mutation found in Ragdoll cats, an unrelated breed, is in a different area of the affected gene, suggesting that these mutations occurred independently rather than being inherited from a common ancestor.
Familial HCM is a primary myocardial disease also found in human beings, with a prevalence of 1 in 500 people. It is the most common heart disease found in cats, affecting non-pedigreed cats as well as some pedigreed breeds. Now, thanks to Winn-funded researchers, the first causative mutations have been identified in cats, opening the door to improved testing and perhaps targets for new drug therapies.
Winn is the only international charity devoted solely to the advancement of feline health.