A Prospective Study of the Immunophenotype and Temporal Changes in the Histologic Lesions of Canine Demodicosis

J. L. Caswell, J. A. Yager, W. M. Parker, Peter F Moore

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45 Scopus citations


Mural folliculitis is a consistent histologic lesion of canine demodicosis. The objective of this study was to describe the immunophenotype and to evaluate temporal changes in histologic lesions of demodicosis during the course of therapy. Five dogs with demodicosis were examined and biopsied biweekly for up to 14 weeks; three dogs were evaluated once only. Lymphocyte subsets infiltrating the lesions were quantified using immunohistochemistry to detect CD3, CD21, CD4, and CD8 antigens. Lymphocyte subsets in blood were analyzed from four dogs using flow cytometry. Mural folliculitis was always present during clinically active disease. In contrast, following resolution of clinical lesions, perifolliculitis and/or perifollicular granulomas were present but mural folliculitis was absent. Most lymphocytes infiltrating the follicular epithelium in lesions of mural folliculitis were CD3+ and CD8+; the ratio of CD4+ : CD8+ cells in this epithelium was 0.032. In contrast, the perifollicular dermis contained approximately equal numbers of CD4+ cells and CD8+ cells, with slightly fewer CD21+B cells. In peripheral blood, the ratio of CD4+ : CD8+ lymphocytes was reduced and the percentage of CD8+ cells was increased in three of four dogs. These results indicate that mural folliculitis is a consistent lesion of clinically active canine demodicosis and is characterized by infiltration of the follicular epithelium by CD3+ CD8+ T lymphocytes. These lymphocytes are cytotoxic T cells, which may mediate the injury to the follicular epithelium in demodicosis. Alternatively, CD8+ T cells may play a role in resistance to Demodex canis infection or may represent a deleterious immune response in dogs that develop demodicosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-287
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Dermatology
  • Dogs
  • Ectoparasitic infestations
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Mite infestations
  • Parasitic skin diseases
  • Veterinary pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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