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Vet Pathol. 2008 Nov;45(6):816-24. doi: 10.1354/vp.45-6-816.

Feline pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis with multiorgan involvement.

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Vet Med Labor GmbH, Division of IDEXX Laboratories, Ludwigsburg, Germany.


Histiocytic proliferative diseases are uncommon in cats, although recently a progressive histiocytosis of the skin with terminal involvement of internal organs has been described in cats. Here we describe 3 cats (2 males and 1 female) with pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis (PLCH). The cats were euthanized due to progressive respiratory clinical symptoms and deterioration. Macroscopically, extensive, multifocal to confluent, pulmonary masses were evident. Infiltration of pancreas (2 cats), kidneys (1 cat), liver (1 cat), as well as tracheobronchial, hepatosplenic, or mesenteric lymph nodes (2 cats) was observed by gross or microscopic examination. The infiltrating cells had histiocytic morphology with cytologic atypia characterized by anisokaryosis and hyperchromasia regionally within infiltrated tissues. Lesional histiocytes expressed vimentin, CD18, and E-cadherin. Expression of E-cadherin was usually markedly reduced in extra-pulmonary lesions, which is consistent with possible down-regulation of E-cadherin associated with distant migration from the lung. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated intracytoplasmic organelles consistent with Birbeck's granules of Langerhans cells in the lesional histiocytes in all cats, except in the pancreas of one cat. These findings were compatible PLCH with limited organ involvement of humans. It remains unproven whether feline PLCH represents a reactive or neoplastic cell proliferation.

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