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Vet Pathol. 2005 Jan;42(1):35-41.

Interstitial lung disease in West Highland White Terriers.

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  • 1Pathology Service, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California-Davis, CA 95616-8747, USA.


Progressive respiratory failure and pulmonary fibrosis in West Highland White Terriers (WHWT) is an apparently genetic disorder of unknown pathogenesis. This study characterizes the light microscopic, ultrastructural, and immunohistochemical features of affected WHWT in comparison with lesions in usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) of humans. Lesions in WHWT were confined to the expansion of the interstitial space of alveolar septa by extracellular matrix (ECM) determined to be mixtures of type-I and -III collagens. Features of UIP such as intra-alveolar fibroblastic foci, subpleural distribution, and honeycombing were not observed in six WHWT. Comparison with normal dogs showed no apparent increase in septal myofibroblasts. Ultrastructually, the ECM in alveolar septa consisted of large aggregates of periodic collagen filaments underlying alveolar capillaries that were surrounded by thick bands of amorphous to fine fibrillar matrix. This study suggests that chronic pulmonary disease of WHWT is a result of aberrant collagen regulation.

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