Encephalitozoonosis in Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Authors

  • Maira dos Santos Carneiro Lacerda Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0100-9704
  • Jair Alves Ferreira Júnior Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.
  • Nathália Dela-Sávia da Fonseca Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3805-7080
  • André Leonardo Rodrigues-Matos Santos Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7775-4888
  • Karla Alvarenga Nascimento Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6426-1558
  • Pedro Miguel Ocampos Pedroso Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9024-9149
  • Juliana Targino Silva Almeida Macêdo Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5065-6206

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.113465

Abstract

Background: Encephalitozoonosis is caused by the protozoan Encephalitozoon cuniculi, in rabbits, and can affect humans. The disease can be fatal and difficult to diagnose. It can be asymptomatic or cause vestibular neurological disease, paralysis, uveitis in addition to chronic kidney disease in rabbits. The transmission of the microorganism's spores occurs by ingestion, inhalation, or by the transplacental route. The aim of this work is to report a case of encephalitozoonosis in a pet rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

Case: An Oryctolagus cuniculus with a history of paraparesis of the thoracic and pelvic limbs was referred for necropsy, the evolution of the clinical picture happened in one day. After death, a necropsy was performed. Organ fragments were collected, fixed, and processed routinely for histology. Macroscopically, there was evidence of hepatic lobes, without injury to the other organs. Microscopically it was observed in the white and gray substance of the telencephalon multiple circumscribed granulomas composed of a necrotic center surrounded by macrophages, giant multinucleated cells in addition to lymphocytes and plasmocytes in the periphery, delimited by fibrous connective tissue. Around the vessels, perivascular cuffs with two to four layers of lymphocytic infiltrate were observed. Besides, special staining of Schiff's Periodic Acid (PAS) and Ziehl-Neelsen was performed, in which numerous cylindrical, eosinophilic structures of approximately 2.5 x 1.0 µm were observed, compatible with E. cuniculi spores. Besides, histiocytic lymphoblasts pericoronitis was noted in the liver. There were no relevant changes in the kidney.

Discussion: The diagnosis of encephalitozoonosis in rabbits was based on clinical and anatomopathological findings. Tetraparesis was the predominant sign in the present case and was justified by telencephalic lesions. This clinical sign is included in the literature but is less common than the syndrome such as head tilt and paralysis. The diagnosis of the disease is usually made by post-mortem examination when it is possible to identify the spores in the lesions. Multifocal granulomatous encephalitis was the most significant finding in this case, which is also consistent with other studies. The pathogenesis of granulomatous lesions is still controversial. It is known that spores allow phagocytosis by macrophages, which induce the production of interleukins and other cytokines by TCD4 + lymphocytes, thereby activating the action of TCD8 + (cytotoxic) lymphocytes. Natural killer cells, granulocytes, other macrophages, and B lymphocytes are also recruited. Although there is such an inflammatory response, the antibodies produced are not efficient to eliminate the agent from the host organism, however, they contribute to the process of opsonization and consequent phagocytosis, facilitating the destruction of the microsporidium by macrophages. The neurological form was predominant in this case, with no chronic or ocular renal forms, possibly due to the rapid clinical evolution. Special stains were useful for visualizing intralesional spores. Although PAS staining is considered to be of little use, it was relevant in this case. The visualization of the agent made it possible to distinguish differential diagnoses, among them vestibular syndrome secondary to otitis due to pasteurellosis, toxoplasmosis, neoplasms, traumas, or diseases of the spine. Thus, a diagnosis of encephalitozoonosis was made in a rabbit through clinical and anatomopathological correlation using Ziehl-Neelsen and PAS stains.

Keywords: granuloma, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, central nervous system.

Descritores: granuloma, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, sistema nervoso central.

Título: Encefalitozoonose em coelho (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

 

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Author Biographies

Maira dos Santos Carneiro Lacerda, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária

Jair Alves Ferreira Júnior, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária

Nathália Dela-Sávia da Fonseca, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária

André Leonardo Rodrigues-Matos Santos, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária

Karla Alvarenga Nascimento, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária

Pedro Miguel Ocampos Pedroso, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária

Juliana Targino Silva Almeida Macêdo, Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Laboratório de Patologia Veterinária. Hospital Veterinário de Pequenos Animais. Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária.

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Published

2021-01-01

How to Cite

Lacerda, M. dos S. C., Ferreira Júnior, J. A., da Fonseca, N. D.-S., Santos, A. L. R.-M., Nascimento, K. A., Pedroso, P. M. O., & Macêdo, J. T. S. A. (2021). Encephalitozoonosis in Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 49. https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.113465

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