The life expectancy of domestic pet cats is increasing, along with the occurrence of geriatric-onset behavioural problems, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). While the cause of CDS is unclear, it has been suggested that it may result from age-related neurodegeneration. In aged and in particular senile human beings, histopathological changes may include the extracellular accumulation of plaque-like deposits of beta-amyloid (A beta) protein and the intracellular accumulation of an abnormally hyperphosphorylated form of the microtubule-associated protein, tau. In severe cases, the latter may form into neurofibrillary tangles. Brain material was assessed from 19 cats, aged from 16 weeks to 14 years; 17 of which had clinical signs of neurological dysfunction. Immunohistochemical methods were used to detect A beta and its intracellular precursor protein (amyloid precursor protein (APP)) and hyperphosphorylated-tau.
APP was constitutively expressed, with diffuse staining of neurons and blood vessels being detected in all cats. More intense staining and diffuse extracellular A beta staining deposits were found within the deep cortical areas of the anterior- and occasionally mid-cerebrum of seven cats, all of which were over 10 years of age. Neurons staining intensely positive for AT8-immunoreactivity were seen in two cats, aged 11 and 13 years. However, no mature neurofibrillary tangles were detected. This study demonstrated that extracellular A beta accumulation and AT8-immunoreactivity within neurons are age-related phenomena in cats, and that they can occur concurrently. There are similarities between these changes and those observed in the brains of aged people and other old mammals. (C) 2006 ESFM and AAFP. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- AGED CATS