Proliferative Typhlocolitis With Multinucleated Giant Cells: A Nonspecific Enteropathy in Immunodeficient Sentinel Mice

Kerriann M. Casey, Amanda L. Johnson, Melea N. Hunrath, Jenelle K. Fraser, Nicole C. McCowan, Katherine Wasson, Rosalinda A. Doty, Stephen M. Griffey, Denise M. Imai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Beginning in 2015, athymic nude sentinel mice from conventional, medium-, and high-security facilities presented to the Comparative Pathology Laboratory (CPL) with weight loss, diarrhea, and/or rectal prolapse. Regardless of whether clinical signs were present or absent, the gross observation of ceco-colonic thickening corresponded histologically to pleocellular typhlocolitis with mucosal hyperplasia and lamina proprial multinucleated cells. A subset of affected sentinels exhibited granulomatous serositis and hepatosplenic necrosis with multinucleated cells. Initial suspicion of mouse hepatitis virus infection was excluded by polymerase chain reaction, electron microscopy, and serology. Multinucleated giant cells were confirmed as macrophages by positive immunoreactivity to Mac-3 and Iba-1 and negative immunoreactivity to pancytokeratin. From conventional and medium-security facilities, Helicobacter species were identified in 40 of 143 (27.9%) mice, with H. hepaticus accounting for 72.5% of identified Helicobacter species. Other agents included opportunistic bacterial infection (41/145, 28.3%), murine norovirus (16/106, 15.1%), and pinworms (2/146, 1.4%). From high-security facilities, only Enterobacter cloacae was identified (2/13, 15.4%), and no evidence of Helicobacter sp., murine norovirus, or pinworms was present. No potentially infectious disease agent(s) was identified in 71 of 146 (48.6%) affected nude sentinels from conventional and medium-security facilities and 11 of 13 (84.6%) affected nude sentinels from high-security facilities. No statistically significant differences in histologic lesion scores were identified between Helicobacter-positive and Helicobacter-negative mice. Thus, proliferative typhlocolitis with multinucleated giant cells was considered a nonspecific histologic pattern associated with a variety of primary and opportunistic pathogens in athymic nude mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-168
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Helicobacter
  • athymic nude
  • mouse hepatitis virus
  • multinucleated giant cells
  • proliferative typhlocolitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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