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J Comp Pathol. 2007 Feb-Apr;136(2-3):167-76.

Histomorphological and immunohistochemical characterization of equine granulosa cell tumours.

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Institute of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Leipzig, Germany.


Benign (n=33) and malignant metastasizing (n=1) granulosa cell tumours (GCTs) from 34 mares aged 3-21 years, and normal (control) ovaries from nine mares aged 3-10 years, were examined histologically and immunohistochemically (for inhibin alpha, glutathione S-transferase alpha [GSTalpha], c-erbB-2 oncoprotein [cerb], cytokeratin, vimentin, desmin and alpha-actin), the results being related where appropriate to clinical signs and endocrinological data. Availability permitting, serum samples from GCT-affected mares before and several weeks after ovariectomy were examined for the following hormones: oestradiol, progesterone and testosterone (by radioimmunoassay); and inhibin B (by a cross-reactive ELISA). Histological examination revealed that the GCTs were predominantly well differentiated neoplasms. The metastasizing GCT differed immunohistochemically from the benign GCTs in respect of the expression patterns of vimentin, cerb and GSTalpha in the granulosa cells. A notable feature was the presence of Leydig-like cells in mares with stallion-like behaviour or elevated serum testosterone, or both. GSTalpha immunolabelling indicated that the Leydig-like cells were potential producers of steroid hormone. From the immunohistochemical and endocrinological findings it was concluded that GCTs produce abnormally high concentrations of inhibin, which reduce the release of follicle-stimulating hormone, leading to atrophy of the contralateral ovary-a finding in 27 of the mares.

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