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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TRANSMISSION, DIFFERENTIATION, AND PATHOBIOLOGY OF TRANSMISSIBLE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES Title: Trophoblast-like cells in tissues of porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum)

Authors
item Hamir, Amirali
item Rupprecht, Charles - CDC, ATLANTA

Submitted to: Veterinary Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2008
Publication Date: May 1, 2008
Citation: Hamir, A.N., Rupprecht, C.E. 2008. Trophoblast-like cells in tissues of porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum). Veterinary Pathology. 45:409-411.

Interpretive Summary: During development and subsequent field evaluation of an oral rabies vaccine 53 adult porcupines (38 females and 15 males) were examined. The porcupines were obtained from State Gamelands No. 13 in northeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Laboratory examinations revealed presence of giant cells in various tissues and were confined to the female porcupines. These giant cells were approximately 20 times the normal surrounding cells. The large cells were found singly and were not associated with any other inflammatory cells and appeared to be present within lumen of vessels. They resembled cells from the lining of the uterus (trophoblasts). This is the first record of presence of trophoblast-like cells in non-genital tissues of porcupines. Scientists and wildlife biologists will benefit from these findings which will enable them to correctly identify these cells and their origins in porcupine tissues. This information will be useful to wildlife health officials, livestock health officials and USDA action agencies such as USDA/APHIS.

Technical Abstract: During development and subsequent field evaluation of an oral vaccinia rabies glycoprotein (V RG) recombinant virus vaccine, 53 adult porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum; 38 females and 15 males) were examined. The porcupines were obtained from State Gamelands No. 13 in northeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Microscopic examinations revealed the presence of giant epitheloid cells in various tissues (adrenal glands, spleen, liver and lungs) of four (11%) female animals. These giant cells were approximately 20 times the normal surrounding cells of the parenchyma. The cells were found singly and were not associated with any other inflammatory cellular infiltrate. PAS stained sections revealed a thin surrounding membrane that indicated that the cells were probably present within lumen of vessels. Morphologically they appeared to be uterine epitheloid trophoblasts. This is the first record of presence of trophoblast-like cells in non-genital tissues of porcupines.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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