, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 433-437
Date: 10 Mar 2009

Multiple cyst formation in the liver and kidneys of a lion (Panthera leo): a case of polycystic kidney disease?

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The present report describes the case of a 19-year-old male lion (Panthera leo) with polycystic lesions in liver and kidney. The animal suffered from inappetence and progressing hind limb weakness and was euthanized due to poor prognosis. Necropsy revealed multiple large, cystic cavities in the liver and numerous cysts in the renal cortex. Hepatic and renal cysts were lined by a flattened or cuboidal single-layered epithelium and derived from hepatic bile ducts and renal tubular structures, respectively, as confirmed by immunohistochemistry for the detection of different cytokeratins and carcinoembryonic antigen. Furthermore, a marked bile duct proliferation and fibrosis was found in the portal areas. Occasionally, renal cysts contained variable amounts of partly mineralized proteinaceous material, detached epithelial cells, and cellular debris. Additional findings included a moderate suppurative bronchopneumonia and other minor age-related degenerative changes. A mutation screen of exon 29 of the PKD1 gene did not reveal causative mutations like in domestic cats. This is the first report of polycystic kidney disease (PKD)-like lesions in a lion. The features of these lesions are similar to those of the adult-onset form of PKD in Persian cats.

Communicated by F.-J. Kaup