Chronic progressive lymphoedema (CPL) in horses, a disease of certain draught breeds, is associated with altered elastin metabolism. The characteristic lesions are seen in the skin of the lower (distal) limbs. This study was based on horses of susceptible breeds, with and without CPL, and on horses of a non-susceptible breed. Skin samples were obtained for examination from the neck (considered a non-affected region) and from the distal limb. The skin lesions were characterized histologically and the dermal elastic fibres were evaluated morphologically and quantitatively. In all horses the mean elastin concentrations were highest in the superficial dermis, gradually decreasing in the mid-dermis and deep dermis. As compared with horses of a non-susceptible breed, affected horses had increased amounts of dermal elastin in both the distal limb and neck, while non-affected horses of a susceptible breed had decreased amounts. The findings support an earlier hypothesis that CPL of horses is a generalized disease. Reduced efficiency of the elastic network in supporting the dermal lymphatics may explain the development of CPL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine