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Identification by real‐time PCR with SYBR Green of Leishmania spp. and Serratia marcescens in canine ‘sterile’ cutaneous nodular lesions

Cornegliani, Luisa, Corona, Antonio, Vercelli, Antonella, Roccabianca, Paola
Veterinary dermatology 2015 v.26 no.3 pp. 186
Leishmania, Mycobacterium, Nocardia, Serratia marcescens, biopsy, dogs, foreign bodies, granuloma, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, microorganisms, polarized light, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, skin lesions, staining, veterinary medicine
BACKGROUND: Noninfectious, non‐neoplastic, nodular to diffuse, so‐called ‘sterile’ granulomatous/pyogranulomatous skin lesions (SGPSLs) are infrequently identified in dogs and may represent a diagnostic challenge. Their correct identification is based on history, histopathology and absence of intralesional foreign bodies and micro‐organisms. HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of Leishmania spp., Mycobacterium spp., Serratia marcescens and Nocardia spp. by real‐time PCR in canine nodular skin lesions histologically diagnosed as putatively sterile. METHODS: Formalin‐fixed skin biopsies were collected from 40 dogs. All samples were associated with an SGPSL diagnosis characterized by multifocal, nodular to diffuse, periadnexal and perifollicular pyogranulomas/granulomas. Neither micro‐organisms nor foreign bodies were detected with haematoxylin and eosin staining, under polarized light. Further analyses included periodic acid Schiff, Ziehl–Neelsen, Fite Faraco, Giemsa and Gram histochemical stains; anti‐Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) and Leishmania spp. immunohistochemistry; and real‐time PCR analysis for Leishmania spp., Mycobacterium spp., S. marcescens and Nocardia spp. RESULTS: Special stains and BCG/immunohistochemistry were negative in all samples. Real‐time PCR was positive for Leishmania spp. in four of 40 biopsies and for S. marcescens in two of 40 samples. Real‐time PCR for Mycobacterium spp. and Nocardia spp. was negative. No correlation between real‐time PCR positivity and a specific histological pattern was identified. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Leishmania spp. have been previously identified as possible agents of certain SGPSLs, while the involvement of S. marcescens has not been investigated previously. According to our findings, Serratia spp. should be included in the list of agents possibly associated with a subgroup of granulomatous/pyogranulomatous skin lesions in dogs.