Canine distemper is a systemic viral disease characterized by immunosuppression followed by secondary infections. Apoptosis is observed in several immunosuppressive diseases and its occurrence on canine distemper in vivo has not been published. In this study, the occurrence of apoptosis was determined in lymphoid tissues of thirteen naturally infected dogs and nine experimentally inoculated puppies. Healthy dogs were used as negative controls. Samples of lymph nodes, thymus, spleen and brain were collected for histopathological purposes. Sections, 5 μm thick, of retropharingeal lymph nodes were stained by HE, Shorr, Methyl Green-Pyronin and TUNEL reaction. Shorr stained sections were further evaluated by morphometry. Canine distemper virus nucleoprotein was detected by immunohistochemistry. Retropharingeal lymph nodes of naturally and experimentally infected dogs had more apoptotic cells per field than controls. In addition, DNA from thymus of infected dogs were more fragmented than controls. Therefore, apoptosis is increased in lymphoid depletion induced by canine distemper virus and consequently play a role in the immunosuppression seen in this disease.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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