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J Vet Med Sci. 1999 Jul;61(7):803-10.

Histopathological and immunohistochemical analysis of the endocrine and exocrine pancreas in twelve cattle with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, Japan.


Histological and immunohistochemical studies were carried out on the pancreas of twelve cattle of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). They showed clinical signs such as persistent hyperglycemia, glycosuria and decreased glucose tolerance, and some cases accompanied with or without ketonuria. Histopathologically, eight cattle were diagnosed as chronic IDDM, while others were acute IDDM. The most characteristic lesions of the pancreas in chronic IDDM showed a decrease in the size and number of pancreatic islets, interlobular and interacinar fibrosis, mild lymphocytic insulitis, and vacuolation of a few islets. Almost all cells in the atrophied islets had a small amount of ungranulated cytoplasm. Immunohistochemical examination revealed that the atrophied islet cells did not react to anti-insulin antibody, but occasionally reacted to anti-glucagon or somatostatin antibodies. A few solitary islets with mild lymphocytic infiltration, necrotic islets with occasional calcification, and atrophied islets with mild fibrosis were also observed. A few islets consisted of many islet cells with vacuolated cytoplasm including a small number of insulin-positive granules. Accumulation of glycogen granules was occasionally observed in these islets. Islet fibrosis was due to the proliferation of collagen fibers reactive to both anti-collagen type I and type III antibodies. In acute IDDM, the major islets consisted of the cells with vacuolated cytoplasm indicating the degranulation of islet cells. These islets contained many islet cells with shrunken cytoplasm and karyorrhectic nuclei. Lymphocytic infiltration was frequently observed in the islets which consisted of many islet cells having karyorrhectic nuclei and vacuolated and severely degranulated cytoplasm. Immunohistochemically, islet cells with vacuolated cytoplasm had a small amount of insulin-positive granules, suggesting severe degranulation of beta-cells. An increase in acinar islet-cells and proliferation of ductal epithelial cells showing insulin-immunoreactivity were observed. Bovine IgG-immunoreactive islet cells were frequently seen in the vacuolated islets. In summary, pathological observations suggested that beta-cells were being destroyed by an inflammatory process which selectively affected the pancreatic islets. Lymphocytic insulitis and anti-bovine immunoreactive islet cells were thought to be the most significant changes in determining the etiology and pathogenesis of bovine IDDM, and suggested their role in anti-islet autoimmunity in this form of diabetes.

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