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Gastritis in Alaskan Racing Sled Dogs

Ritchey, J.W., Davis, M.S., Breshears, M.A., Willard, M.D., Williamson, K.K., Royer, C.M., Payton, M.E., Cragun, A.S.
Journal of comparative pathology 2011 v.145 no.1 pp. 68-76
B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes, basement membrane, dogs, epithelial cells, gastric mucosa, gastritis, histopathology, humans, immunohistochemistry, inflammation, models, stomach ulcers
Alaskan racing sled dogs are a well-established model of exercise-induced gastric disease. The aim of this study was to define the temporal development of microscopical gastric lesions during long distance racing. Two groups of dogs were examined: group I comprised conditioned dogs that were exercising and group II were conditioned dogs not exercising. The gastric mucosa was examined endoscopically and sampled for routine histopathology and microscopical scoring, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and detection of apoptotic epithelial cells. Overall, group I dogs exhibited more significant epithelial lesions, including ulcers, compared with dogs in group II. Group II dogs exhibited the most severe mucosal inflammatory infiltrates. Although the intensity of inflammation differed, the nature of the inflammation was similar between groups, consisting of diffuse lymphocytic infiltration and a unique interface-type infiltrate that obscured the basement membrane zone and was accompanied by intraepithelial infiltration of lymphocytes. IHC confirmed the presence of CD3⁺ T and CD79⁺ B lymphocytes within the mucosal infiltrates; however, most of the intraepithelial and interface infiltrates were CD3⁺ T cells. Spiral-shaped bacterial organisms were seen in the gastric tissues; however, their presence did not correlate with either the severity of epithelial lesions, inflammation or the pattern of interface inflammation. The number of apoptotic epithelial cells was widely variable and not significantly different between groups. These findings confirm previous observations that gastric ulcers develop in conditioned dogs under racing stress. The unique nature of the interface-type gastric inflammation is similar to that of human lymphocytic gastritis and may suggest an immune-mediated mechanism for the changes seen in Alaskan racing sled dogs.