Pathological findings in harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from Norwegian and Icelandic waters.

Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum Westküste, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, 25761 Buesum, Germany.
Journal of Comparative Pathology (Impact Factor: 1.38). 01/2006; 134(2-3):134-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2005.09.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A study of 37 by-caught harbour porpoises from Icelandic and Norwegian waters showed that most were in good or moderate nutritional condition and none was severely emaciated. Mild infection with lungworms (Halocercus invaginatus, Pseudalius inflexus, Torynurus convolutus) was found in 84% of the Icelandic and 91% of the Norwegian animals, usually associated with bronchopneumonia which was rarely severe. Most (91%) of the animals had parasites in the stomach and intestine (Anisakis simplex, Contracaecum osculatum, Pholeter gastrophilus), and Campula oblonga was present in the liver and pancreas of 88 and 21%, respectively. Oesophagitis, gastritis, cholangitis, pericholangitis, pancreatitis and lymphadenitis were almost exclusively associated with parasitic infection and usually mild. Bacterial isolates were obtained from 50 to 55% of the animals but were not considered to be clinically significant. There was no indication of morbillivirus infection. Icelandic and Norwegian animals showed a thicker blubber layer and a lower incidence of severe lesions, especially in the respiratory tract, as compared with reports of by-caught animals from the Baltic Sea.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The increasing disease susceptibility in different whale and dolphin populations has led to speculation about a possible negative influence of environmental contaminants on the immune system and therefore on the health status of marine mammals. Despite current efforts in the immunology of marine mammals several aspects of immune functions in aquatic mammals remain unknown. However, assays for evaluating cellular immune responses, such as lymphocyte proliferation, respiratory burst as well as phagocytic and cytotoxic activity of leukocytes and humoral immune responses have been established for different cetacean species. Additionally, immunological and molecular techniques enable the detection and quantification of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in lymphoid cells during inflammation or immune responses, respectively. Different T and B cell subsets as well as antigen-presenting cells can be detected by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Despite great homologies between marine and terrestrial mammal lymphoid organs, some unique anatomical structures, particularly the complex lymphoepithelial laryngeal glands in cetaceans represent an adaptation to the marine environment. Additionally, physiological changes, such as age-related thymic atrophy and cystic degeneration of the "anal tonsil" of whales have to be taken into account when investigating these lymphoid structures. Systemic morbillivirus infections lead to fatalities in cetaceans associated with generalized lymphoid depletion. Similarly, chronic diseases and starvation are associated with a loss of functional lymphoid cells and decreased resistance against opportunistic infections. There is growing evidence for an immunotoxic effect of different environmental contaminants in whales and dolphins, as demonstrated in field studies. Furthermore, immunomodulatory properties of different persistent xenobiotics have been confirmed in cetacean lymphoid cells in vitro as well as in animal models in vivo. However, species-specific differences of the immune system and detoxification of xenobiotics between cetaceans and laboratory rodents have to be considered when interpreting these toxicological data for risk assessment in whales and dolphins.
    Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 09/2009; 133(2-4):81-94. · 1.88 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microbiological findings in harbour porpoises from different regions of the North Atlantic were compared. Results in animals from the North and Baltic Seas were evaluated over a period of 18 years for changes in the microbiological flora. Microbiological investigations were performed on 1429 organ samples from the lung, liver, kidney, spleen, intestine, and mesenteric lymph nodes from harbour porpoises of the German North and Baltic Seas, Greenlandic, Icelandic and Norwegian waters. A large variety of bacteria, including potentially pathogenic bacteria like Brucella sp., Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, beta-haemolytic streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus were isolated. Those bacteria were associated with bronchopneumonia, gastroenteritis, hepatitis, pyelonephritis, myocarditis and septicemia. Organs from animals originating from Greenlandic and Icelandic waters showed clearly less bacterial growth and fewer associated pathological lesions compared to animals from the German North and Baltic Seas and Norwegian waters. Differences in bacterial findings and associated lesions between harbour porpoises from the German North and Baltic Seas and animals from Greenlandic, Norwegian and Icelandic waters may result from higher stress due to anthropogenic activities such as chemical pollutants in the North and Baltic Seas.
    Journal of Applied Microbiology 01/2009; 106(1):329-37. · 2.20 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Neoplastic diseases in cetaceans are considered relatively uncommon. This report describes a gastric squamous cell carcinoma in an adult male harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) stranded on the North Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The tumour arose from the squamous epithelium of the first compartment of the stomach and metastases were found in the pulmonary and retropharyngeal lymph nodes, liver, lung and brain. Neoplastic epithelial cells expressed cytokeratin (CK) 5, CK6 and CK10. This pattern of CK expression did not differ from that of normal porpoise squamous gastric mucosa and partially shares the CK profile of human oesophageal epithelium. Tumour cells strongly expressed p53, suggesting a possible role for this tumour suppressor gene in tumourigenesis.
    Journal of comparative pathology 01/2010; 143(2-3):179-84. · 1.73 Impact Factor