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Toxicol Pathol. 2011 Jan;39(1):129-51. doi: 10.1177/0192623310392249. Epub 2010 Dec 31.

Classification of neural tumors in laboratory rodents, emphasizing the rat.

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Department of Pathology, Harlan Laboratories Ltd., Itingen, Switzerland.


Neoplasms of the nervous system, whether spontaneous or induced, are infrequent in laboratory rodents and very rare in other laboratory animal species. The morphology of neural tumors depends on the intrinsic functions and properties of the cell type, the interactions between the neoplasm and surrounding normal tissue, and regressive changes. The incidence of neural neoplasms varies with sex, location, and age of tumor onset. Although the onset of spontaneous tumor development cannot be established in routine oncogenicity studies, calculations using the time of diagnosis (day of death) have revealed significant differences in tumor biology among different rat strains. In the central nervous system, granular cell tumors (a meningioma variant), followed by glial tumors, are the most common neoplasms in rats, whereas glial cell tumors are observed most frequently in mice. Central nervous system tumors usually affect the brain rather than the spinal cord. Other than adrenal gland pheochromocytomas, the most common neoplasms of the peripheral nervous system are schwannomas. Neural tumors may develop in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system from other cell lineages (including extraneural elements like adipose tissue and lymphocytes), but such lesions are very rare in laboratory animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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