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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #288760


Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

Title: Purkinje cell heterotopy with cerebellar hypoplasia in two free-living American kestrels (Falco sparverius)

item Armien, A - University Of Minnesota
item Mcruer, D - Wildlife Center
item Ruder, Mark
item Wunschmann, A - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Veterinary Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2012
Publication Date: 1/23/2013
Citation: Armien, A.G., Mcruer, D.L., Ruder, M.G., Wunschmann, A. 2013. Purkinje cell heterotopy with cerebellar hypoplasia in two free-living American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Veterinary Pathology. 50(1):182-187.

Interpretive Summary: This report describes a congenital malformation in the brain of two free-living American kestrels. The abnormal size and shape of the cerebellum in each bird was likely caused by disruption of the molecular mechanisms that dictate cellular migration, placement, and maturation. Possible causes for this disruption may include viral infection, nutritional deficiency, toxic insult, or an inherited genetic defect. Developmental disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), especially the cerebellum, are commonly reported in mammals. However, descriptions of congenital CNS disorders in birds are rare and this report provides insight into a novel cerebellar disorder observed in a wild avian species.

Technical Abstract: Two wild fledgling kestrels exhibited lack of motor coordination, postural reaction deficits, and abnormal propioception. At necropsy, the cerebellum and brainstem were markedly underdeveloped. Microscopically, there was Purkinje cells heterotopy, abnormal circuitry, and hypoplasia with defective foliation. Heterotopic neurons were identified as immature Purkinje cells by their size, location, immunoreactivity for calbindin D-28 K, and ultrastructural features. The authors suggest that this cerebellar abnormality was likely due to a disruption of molecular mechanisms that dictate Purkinje cell migration, placement, and maturation in early embryonic development. The etiology of this condition remains undetermined. Congenital central nervous system disorders have rarely been reported in birds.