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Investigation of glomerular lesions in dogs with acute experimentally induced Ehrlichia canis infection






American Journal of Veterinary Research 53(12): 2286-2291

Investigation of glomerular lesions in dogs with acute experimentally induced Ehrlichia canis infection

Six male Beagles were inoculated with Ehrlichia canis. Transient proteinuria was confirmed during the acute phase of infection by serial determination of urinary protein-to-creatinine ratio. Peak urine protein loss, consisting principally of albumin, was observed 2.5 to 3.5 weeks after inoculation. Renal biopsy specimens were obtained before inoculation, during peak proteinuria, and 10 weeks after inoculation when proteinuria had resolved. Renal tissue was evaluated by use of light, immunofluorescent, and electron microscopy to correlate specific glomerular lesions with development of proteinuria. Histologic examination revealed perivenular and interstitial infiltrates of lymphocytes and plasma cells localized principally to the renal cortex. Glomerular lesions were minimal to absent. Immunofluorescent staining revealed moderate to marked deposition of anti-canine IgG and IgM in the glomerular tufts and mesangium. Depositions of anti-canine complement factor C3 were not observed. Immunofluorescent staining persisted 10 weeks after inoculation, despite resolution of proteinuria, and probably represented passive trapping of immunoglobulins. Ultrastructural examination revealed fusion of podocyte processes that coincided with development of proteinuria. Electron-dense deposits or changes in the basement membrane were not observed. Morphometric measurements of average podocyte process length and percentage of coverage of basement membrane by podocyte processes were used to quantify the degree of process fusion. Both measurements increased significantly (P < 0.05) during peak proteinuria, and returned to preinoculation values when proteinuria had resolved 10 weeks after E canis inoculation. These findings indicated possible minimal-change glomerulopathy, rather than immune-complex glomerulonephritis, during acute E canis infection and could explain transient proteinuria without histologic evidence of glomerular disease.

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Accession: 002416809

PMID: 1476309



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