Unexpected high frequency of neurofibroma in the celiac ganglion of German cattle
In a study originally designed to find potential risk factors for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) we examined tissues from 403 Holstein Frisian cattle in total. These included 20 BSE cattle and their 236 birth- and feeding cohort animals plus 32 offspring, 103 age, breed and district-matched control cattle and further twelve cattle with neurological signs. In addition to the obex, we examined the celiac ganglion, cervical cranial ganglion, trigeminal ganglion and proximal ganglion of the vagus nerve using histological techniques. Unexpectedly, we found a high number of neurofibroma, a benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor consisting of Schwann cells, fibroblasts and perineural cells. The neurofibroma were present only in the celiac ganglion and found during histologic examination. With a frequency of 9.91% in BSE cattle and their cohorts (case animals) and 9.09% in the age, breed and district matched control animals there seems to be no correlation between the occurrence of BSE and neurofibroma. Benign peripheral nerve sheath tumors have been described more often in cattle than in other domestic animals. Usually, they are incidental macroscopic findings in the thoracic ganglia during meat inspection. To our knowledge, there are no previous systematic histologic studies including bovine celiac ganglia at all. The high incidence of celiac ganglia neurofibroma may play a role in the frequently occurring abomasal displacements in Holstein Frisian cattle as the tumors might cause a gastrointestinal motility disorder. At present a genetic predisposition for these neoplasms cannot be ruled out.