• Open Access

Immune Cell Populations within the Duodenal Mucosa of Dogs with Enteropathies


Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Lang-ford House, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK; e-mail: A.J.German@bris.ac.uk.


The mucosal immune system may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of small intestinal enteropathies. The aim of the current study was to assess mucosal immune cell populations in dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), idiopathic antibiotic-responsive diarrhea (ARD), and adverse reactions to food (FR). Endoscopic biopsies were performed of the duodenum of dogs with these conditions and from a group of dogs without enteric disease. Additional control samples were collected after death from other dogs that did not have evidence of enteric disease. Immunohistochemistry and computer-aided morphometry were used to assess the distribution of immune cell subsets in both lamina propria and intestinal epithelium. Compared with controls, dogs with ARD had increased numbers of lamina propria immunoglobulin (Ig) A+ plasma cells and CD4+ cells. More marked alterations were noted in dogs with IBD, with significant increases in lamina propria IgG+ plasma cells, T cells (CD3+), CD4+ cells, macrophages, and neutrophils, but with reduced mast cell numbers. Increased intraepithelial CD3+ T cells were also present in the dogs with IBD, compared with controls. However, lamina propria and epithelial populations were unaltered in dogs with FR when compared with controls. The altered mucosal immune cell populations observed in dogs with ARD or IBD may reflect an underlying immunologic pathogenesis in these disorders.