Trophoblast deportation to the lungs of cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus).

La Perle KM, Green MG, Niewiesk S
Comp Med 64 448-55 12/01/2014


Cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) have been used to study a variety of infectious agents, particularly human respiratory viral pathogens. During the course of comprehensive pathologic evaluations of aging breeders from our breeding colony, 6 of 22 (27%) female cotton rats had histologic evidence, limited to the lungs, of embolized cells that were confirmed to be trophoblastic in origin by HSD3B1 immunoreactivity. When pulmonary trophoblast emboli were numerous, they usually were associated with additional histologic findings in the lungs, including pulmonary edema and hemorrhage, endothelial hypertrophy, fibrinoid vascular necrosis, and abundant alveolar macrophages containing fresh fibrin and hemolyzing erythrocytes. Of the 6 cotton rats with pulmonary trophoblast emboli, 5 (83%) were at 8 to 18 d of the 27-d gestation period, with the greatest number of emboli per lung present between days 10 through 14. The remaining cotton rat had a focal pulmonary trophoblast embolus and was not pregnant but had delivered a litter 3 mo previously. Three other cotton rats in either the early or late stages of gestation showed no histologic evidence of pulmonary trophoblast deportation. This report is the first to document pulmonary trophoblast emboli in cotton rats. This finding suggests that cotton rats may be an alternative animal model for the study of normal and aberrant trophoblast deportation in routine pregnancies and gestational pathologic conditions in women.

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