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Environ Toxicol. 2007 Apr;22(2):176-84.

Contact hypersensitivity to stainless steel cages (chromium metal) in hairless descendants of mexican hairless dogs.

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Center for Experimental Animals, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, 38, Nishigo-naka, Myodaiji, Okazaki, Aichi 444-8585, Japan.


Canine allergic contact hypersensitivity is an uncommon skin disease as compared with human beings because hair coat is a good natural barrier to environmental contactants. In our colony of hairless dogs housed in stainless steel cages, we have encountered spontaneously occurring contact hypersensitivity. The author has attempted to study the toxicological effects of environmental sensitizing substances on the canine skin. The purpose of this study is to elucidate dermatological characteristics in canine species with contact hypersensitivity. This skin lesion was investigated by patch tests, macroscopic observations, and histopathological examinations. Patch tests exhibited positive reactions to potassium dichromate. Macroscopically, early lesions were macules and/or papules and they gradually progressed to severe inflammatory dermatitis over the dorsum. In the chronic phase, lichenification, kyperkeratosis, hyperpigmentation, dryness, scaliness, and fissuring were observed in the skin. Avoidance of contact with the stainless steel cages resulted in clinical improvement. Histopathologically, the epidermis apparently showed hyperkeratosis, thickening, hyperplasia, and rete ridge formation. Lichenified lesions had clumps of melanin granules in the stratum basale and spinosum. In the dermis, there was marked edema and dense mononuclear cell infiltration. Vasodilation, hemorrhage, and hyperplasia of sebaceous glands were also found. Both dermal mast cells and epidermal Langerhans cells significantly increased in the skin lesions, as compared with nonlesional sites. The present results revealed that constant contact with stainless steel cages (chromium metal) caused contact hypersensitivity in hairless dogs with very sparse hairs.

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