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Toxicol Pathol. 2012 Apr;40(3):425-34. doi: 10.1177/0192623311431467. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Differentiation of rodent immune and hematopoietic system reactive lesions from neoplasias.

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  • 1Global VetPathology and Laboratory of Immunopathology, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The immune and hematopoietic systems play an important role in the normal homeostasis of blood and blood cells and for immune responses to endogenous and exogenous processes and insults. In order to interpret histopathologic changes in the immune and hematopoietic systems, it is important to understand the normal anatomy and histology of the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and other tissues. The thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes can be categorized by anatomical compartments, each of which contributes to specific immune functions. Lesions may be diagnosed by interpretive or descriptive (semiquantitative) methods. The interpretation of these tissues by lesion in anatomical compartments should allow for better understanding of these reactions and more definitive pathologic findings. Proliferative lesions may be difficult to differentiate from lymphomas and leukemias. The use of immunohistochemistry, compartmental pathology, and methods for the evaluation of clonality will make interpretation easier.

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