Veterinary Record 131:359-362 doi:10.1136/vr.131.16.359
  • Papers & Articles

Idiopathic brainstem neuronal chromatolysis and hippocampal sclerosis: a novel encephalopathy in clinically suspect cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy


Some of the brains submitted for neurohistopathological examination under the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Orders did not show lesions of BSE. They showed neuronal chromatolysis and necrosis of the brainstem, perivascular cuffs and meningeal infiltrates of mononuclear cells and large irregularly shaped vacuoles in the neuropil. About half of them also showed loss of pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus, with astrocytic gliosis. The topography of the brainstem neuronal degeneration and vacuolation was the same in all the cattle, suggesting that neuronal necrosis and chromatolysis, vacuolation and hippocampal sclerosis are part of a spectrum of changes common to a single disease. The cows affected with such changes came from most parts of Scotland with the largest number from the north east. They were of various breeds, mostly suckler cows, and were aged from six to 16 years. Some cows had had no reported access to feed supplements. Clinically, the cows showed a range of neurological signs: tremor, ataxia, apprehension and weight loss were described in more than 80 per cent of the cases. The cause of the disorder was not determined.

    Sign up for job alerts

    Vet Record Careers features a comprehensive database of vet jobs.
    Browse for your next job, or set personalised job alerts so you hear about vacancies as soon as they go online.
    Find out more at Vet Record Careers

    Free Sample Issue

    This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of the Veterinary Record.
    View free sample issue >>

    Navigate This Article