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Characterization of Atherosclerosis by Histochemical and Immunohistochemical Methods in African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) and Amazon Parrots (Amazona spp.)

Fricke, Cornelia, Schmidt, Volker, Cramer, Kerstin, Krautwald-Junghanns, Maria-Elisabeth, Dorrestein, Gerry M.
Avian diseases 2009 v.53 no.3 pp. 466–472
Psittacus, Amazona, parrots, atherosclerosis, bird diseases, histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), aorta, blood vessels, disease incidence, disease course, pathogenesis, lymphocytes, macrophages, smooth muscle, myocytes, chondroitin sulfate, cell proliferation, heart, lungs
The aim of the study was to characterize atherosclerotic changes in African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) and Amazon parrots (Amazona spp.) by histochemical and immunohistochemical methods. Samples of the aorta ascendens and trunci brachiocephalici from 62 African grey parrots and 35 Amazon parrots were stained by hematoxylin and eosin and Elastica van Gieson for grading of atherosclerosis in these birds. Four different stages were differentiated. The incidence of atherosclerosis in the examined parrots was 91.9% in African grey parrots and 91.4% in Amazon parrots. To evaluate the pathogenesis in birds, immunohistochemical methods were performed to demonstrate lymphocytes, macrophages, smooth muscle cells, and chondroitin sulfate. According to the missing lymphocytes and macrophages and the absence of invasion and proliferation of smooth muscle cells in each atherosclerotic stage, “response-to-injury hypothesis” seems inapplicable in parrots. Additionally, we found alterations of vitally important organs (heart, lungs) significantly correlated with atherosclerosis of the aorta ascendens.