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Open Access Fatal Acute Intestinal Pseudoobstruction in Mice

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Here we describe the epizootiology and pathology of spontaneous, fatal acute intestinal pseudoobstruction that occurred in a mouse colony of 1000 breeding pairs, mainly of the C57Bl/6 strain and free from known pathogenic agents. Most of the mice affected were dams in the second week of lactation. At necropsy, segments of the small intestines were distended with fluid contents. Widespread apoptosis of the villus epithelium of the small intestine and superficial epithelial cells of the large intestine, associated with strong expression of active caspase 3, was a distinctive feature. Necrotic enterocytes, mucosal erosions, and acute mucosal inflammation were prominent in some mice, and morphologic signs of toxemia were generally present. No light microscopic neuronal changes were apparent in the gut, and no etiologic agents were identified. These results indicate that sudden activation of apoptosis in the trophically stimulated gut epithelium during peak lactation was instrumental for the fatal outcome of the condition, but the primary cause of the motility dysfunction of the bowel was not established.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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