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Alterations in the CNS and cerebellar morphometry of cattle experimentally poisoned by Solanum paniculatum

Some species of Solanum cause poisoning in ruminants clinically characterized by cerebellar disorders and microscopically lysosomal storage disease. There are no specific necropsy injuries and microscopically occurs vacuolation and Purkinje cells loss. Since Solanum paniculatum is the species of greater occurrence in the Northeast region of Brazil and is responsible for spontaneous intoxication outbreaks in Pernambuco State, an experimental delineation was carried out to characterize the clinical and pathological condition of the intoxication. Five cattle were randomly allotted in two groups, with four animals in the experimental group (EG) and one animal as control (CG), with six months of age, no defined breed and weighting 120 kg. All animals were kept in stalls along 5 months in the Clínica de Bovinos de Garanhuns/UFRPE. All animals from the experimental group were fed 5g/kg/body weight/day of the dried leaves of S. paniculatum which was mixed in the ration. The plant was collected in farms where outbreaks of intoxication were described. A Head Raising Test was weekly performed to determine the occurrence of any cerebellum clinical signs and when the result was positive the animal was submitted to a blood and cerebrospinal fluid sampling and subsequently euthanized. The CNS and rete mirabile were fixed in 10% buffered formalin and stained by hematoxylin-eosin for histological evaluation. Morphometric analysis of cerebellum injuries was accomplished. To evaluate the laboratory results, it was used descriptive analysis and in relation to morphometry the Student t test (p<0.05) was used in the counting of Purkinje cells and the thickness of the molecular layer of the cerebellum the Mann Whitney test, with 5% level of significance. Three animals showed clinical signs of intoxication a mean period of 90 days and one animal in155 days. Clinical signs involved transient seizure episodes and balance disturbance. At necropsy there were no specific injuries of intoxication observed as well as changes in red and white cell blood count and liquor analysis. Histological examination showed mainly thin vacuolation of the pericardium, loss of Purkinje cells with Wallerian degeneration, spheroid axons in the granular layer and in the marrows white matter with astrocytes Bergman proliferation. Vacuolation and neuron necrosis were also observed in other sites the obex, cerebellum peduncles, rostral and caudal colliculi and rarely in the thalamus, basal ganglia, hippocampus and medulla oblongata. Morphometric analysis did not differ significantly (p <0.05) in number of Purkinje cells and in molecular layer thickness between the EG and CG, showing that despite the cattle develop clinical symptoms of intoxication and marked histopathological changes, these experimental conditions had caused no significant morphometric changes in relation to the CG. It is suggested a greater time of administration of the plant for the development of most intense lesions as natural cases. Laboratory results of blood and cerebrospinal fluid do not reflect changes related to poisoning by the plant.

Poisonous plant; Solanum paniculatum; Jurubeba; central nervous system; Purkinje cells; vacuolation; cerebellum; plant poisoning; ruminants

Colégio Brasileiro de Patologia Animal - CBPA Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira, Caixa Postal 74.591, 23890-000 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, Tel./Fax: (55 21) 2682-1081 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil