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Open Access Subacute Necrotizing Encephalopathy in a Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) That Resembles Mitochondrial Encephalopathy in Humans

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A male pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina), approximately 5 years old, was found to be vision-impaired and to have profound behavioral abnormalities, including hyperactivity and self-injurious behavior that was not amenable to amelioration by environmental enrichment. Facial and skeletal dysmorphisms also were noted. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning revealed areas of possible infarction in the occipital lobes and megaventriculosis. At necropsy, following euthanasia for humane reasons, severe polio- and leukoencephalomalacia accompanied by megaventriculosis were seen in both occipital lobes and in several sulci of the parietal and frontal lobes. Light microscopic findings included loss of neocortical structure, with necrosis, neuronal loss, astrogliosis, vascular proliferation, mild spongiosis, and demyelination. The extent and severity of lesions were most pronounced in the occipital lobes and were greater in the left than in the right hemisphere. Other lesions included mild bilateral atrophy of the optic nerves, thymic involution, necrotizing dermatitis due to trauma, and a spectrum of spermatozoal abnormalities. The imaging and gross and light microscopic changes found in this animal resemble the mitochondrial encephalopathies of humans; this was corroborated by results of immunohistochemical analysis demonstrating decreased expression of enzymes of the mitochondrial oxidative complex ([OC]-I, -III, and -IV) in brain and muscle, and detection of fibrinogen immunoreactivity in neurons and glial cells. The spermatozoal defects may represent yet another aspect of a mitochondrial defect.

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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7330 2: Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 3: Washington National Primate Research Center and Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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