BACKGROUND: Congenital portosystemic shunt (cPSS) is one of the most common congenital disorders diagnosed in dogs. Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a frequent complication in dogs with a cPSS and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Despite HE been a major cause of morbidity in dogs with a cPSS, little is known about the cellular changes that occur in the central nervous system of dogs with a cPSS.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to characterise the histological changes in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum of dogs with cPSS with particular emphasis on astrocyte morphology.
METHODS: Eight dogs with a confirmed cPSS were included in the study.
RESULTS: Six dogs had substantial numbers of Alzheimer type II astrocytes and all cases had increased immunoreactivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein in the cerebral cortex, even if there were minimal other morphological changes.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that dogs with a cPSS have marked cellular changes in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. The cellular changes that occur in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum of dogs with spontaneously arising HE are similar to changes which occur in humans with HE, further validating dogs with a cPSS as a good model for human HE.
- hepatic encephalopathy