Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Archer, Todd

Committee Member

Mackin, Andrew

Committee Member

Bulla, Camilo

Committee Member

Lawrence, Mark

Committee Member

Pharr, Todd

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Veterinary Medicine


Veterinary Medical Science Program


Cyclosporine is used in veterinary medicine to treat a number of inflammatory and immune-mediated conditions, however firm oral dosing protocols have yet to be established in the dog. Traditionally a pharmacokinetic approach, through measurement of blood drug concentrations, has been the primary method of establishing if the given dose is effectively suppressing the immune system. However, there is some debate over how well blood drug concentrations correspond to immunosuppression, since individuals can vary in response to the same drug concentration. Our research group believes that a pharmacodynamic approach could alternatively be used to accurately determine cyclosporine dosages in individual patients since this will give a measurement of the immune system’s response to the drug, rather than simply how the body is processing it. This method will give a more accurate assessment of the patient’s immune system, and allow for better immunosuppressant therapy. The objective of this thesis was to develop a quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assay that could reliably predict patient outcome during cyclosporine treatment. This assay would essentially work as a diagnostic tool that clinicians can use to help determine if they were using an appropriate cyclosporine dose for their patients. The assay measures cytokine expression of activated T cells, which are the target cell for the active metabolite of cyclosporine. Our objectives were achieved, firstly, through validation of the assay. Since this assay will be used by clinicians throughout the nation, we first established if shipping conditions affected the sample, and therefore assay results. Once the effect of sample storage time and temperature were determined, optimal sample collection timing was established. Finally, cytokine levels were measured in samples from clinical cases and healthy control dogs to examine the difference in cytokine expression between these two groups. An effective and reliable treatment method for cyclosporine has yet to be established in the dog; therefore the results of this thesis will lead to better therapeutic monitoring and more efficient use of cyclosporine therapy in canine patients.