Nodular regenerative hyperplasia (NRH) is an uncommon hepatic lesion often associated with noncirrhotic portal hypertension (PHT). We have noted that NRH and PHT are frequent occurrences in a colony of dogs with the genetic storage disease, mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS-I). This observation provides the opportunity to study the histology and pathogenesis of NRH and noncirrhotic PHT in a new animal model. Thirteen of 32 dogs (41%) with MPS-I developed multiple portocaval shunts between 4 and 48 months of age that were grossly visible at necropsy. Seven of the 13 developed marked ascites, whereas all those without shunts and littermates (n = 24) heterozygous for the mutated α-l-iduronidase allele (carriers unaffected by the storage disease) did not. The large and medium-sized portal veins were widely patent without thrombosis or vascular malformations. Hepatic parenchymal fibrosis was absent or mild and did not correlate with shunt formation. All 32 livers had varying degrees of diffuse periportal hepatocellular hyperplasia with multifocal atrophy and compression of centrolobular cords (NRH) most prominent in dogs with shunts. Many small portal veins were reduced in diameter or absent, especially in animals with shunts. Noncirrhotic PHT and NRH appear to be related to the obliteration of small portal veins in these dogs, but the pathogenesis of this vascular change remains unknown.
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