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Hepatic copper concentrations in Labrador Retrievers with and without chronic hepatitis: 72 cases (1980–2010)

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 3 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate differences in hepatic copper concentrations in Labrador Retrievers with and without chronic hepatitis.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Sample—Liver tissue specimens from 36 Labrador Retrievers with chronic hepatitis and 36 age- and sex-matched Labrador Retrievers without chronic hepatitis (control dogs).

Procedures—Liver tissue specimens were obtained during 2 study periods (1980 to 1997 and 1998 to 2010). For each tissue specimen, a histologic score was assigned independently by each of 2 interpreters, and the hepatic copper concentration was qualitatively determined via rhodanine staining and quantitatively determined via atomic absorption spectroscopy.

Results—Mean hepatic copper concentration was significantly higher in dogs with chronic hepatitis (614 μg/g of dry weight [range, 104 to 4,234 μg/g of dry weight]), compared with that in control dogs (299 μg/g of dry weight [range, 93 to 3,810 μg/g of dry weight]), and increased significantly over time. A higher proportion of liver tissue specimens collected during the 1998–2010 study period had hepatic copper concentrations > 400 μg/g of dry weight (the upper limit of the reference range), compared with the proportion of liver tissue specimens collected during the 1980–1997 study period. The qualitative copper score did not accurately predict quantitative hepatic copper concentration in 33% of study dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that the increase in hepatic copper concentrations in Labrador Retrievers with and without chronic hepatitis over time may be the result of increased exposure of dogs to environmental copper, most likely via the diet.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate differences in hepatic copper concentrations in Labrador Retrievers with and without chronic hepatitis.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Sample—Liver tissue specimens from 36 Labrador Retrievers with chronic hepatitis and 36 age- and sex-matched Labrador Retrievers without chronic hepatitis (control dogs).

Procedures—Liver tissue specimens were obtained during 2 study periods (1980 to 1997 and 1998 to 2010). For each tissue specimen, a histologic score was assigned independently by each of 2 interpreters, and the hepatic copper concentration was qualitatively determined via rhodanine staining and quantitatively determined via atomic absorption spectroscopy.

Results—Mean hepatic copper concentration was significantly higher in dogs with chronic hepatitis (614 μg/g of dry weight [range, 104 to 4,234 μg/g of dry weight]), compared with that in control dogs (299 μg/g of dry weight [range, 93 to 3,810 μg/g of dry weight]), and increased significantly over time. A higher proportion of liver tissue specimens collected during the 1998–2010 study period had hepatic copper concentrations > 400 μg/g of dry weight (the upper limit of the reference range), compared with the proportion of liver tissue specimens collected during the 1980–1997 study period. The qualitative copper score did not accurately predict quantitative hepatic copper concentration in 33% of study dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that the increase in hepatic copper concentrations in Labrador Retrievers with and without chronic hepatitis over time may be the result of increased exposure of dogs to environmental copper, most likely via the diet.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Cornell University Dean's Fund for Clinical Research Excellence.

Presented as a poster presentation at the 27th Annual American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Montreal, June 2009.

Address correspondence to Dr. Center (sac6@cornell.edu).