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Enzootic nasal adenocarcinoma of sheep and goats.

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Departamento de Patología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Zaragoza, Miguel Servet 177, 50013 Zaragoza, Spain.


Enzootic nasal adenocarcinoma is a contagious tumour of the mucosal nasal glands affecting young adult sheep or goats. The disease occurs naturally in all continents except Australia and New Zealand. Clinical signs include continuous nasal discharge, respiratory distress, exophthalmos and skull deformations. The tumour is classified histologically as a low-grade adenocarcinoma. Nasal glands of both respiratory and olfactory muosal glands seem to be the origin of the neoplasia. It has been experimentally transmitted in sheep and goats using either tumour extracts or concentrated nasal fluids. Two distinct retroviruses are implicated in the aetiology of the neoplasia one in sheep (ONAV) and one in goats (CNAV). We suggest that jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV), ONAV, CNAV, and their endogenous counterparts represent a unique family of retroviruses. The similarities between these viruses suggests that any control strategies, including vaccination, may be appropriate to both diseases. The differences, however, represent a unique resource for delineating the function of individual regions of the virus. It is intriguing that whilst ONAV and CNAV appear to be as different to each other as they are to JSRV, that they have very similar disease pathologies, distinct from that of OPA. Additionally, all three exogenous viruses manage to avoid instigating any apparent immune response. Whether this is indeed a result of tolerance induced by the endogenous counterparts or whether the viruses themselves have unique immunosuppressive properties will be an important finding.

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