Salivary gland oncocytes in african hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) mimicking cytomegalic inclusion disease

S. R. Brunnert, G. T. Hensley, S. B. Citino, A. J. Herron, N. H. Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The salivary glands from three African hedgehogs contained multiple foci of cytomegalic cells, which occasionally had a mild to moderate infiltrate of lymphocytes at the periphery. The cytomegalic cells were 35 to 40 μm in diameter with abundant acidophilic granular to hyalin cytoplasm. The nuclei were enlarged with clumped marginalized chromatin and a large, (6 to 8 μm in diameter) central, brightly eosinophilic nucleolus that had the appearance of an inclusion body by light microscopy. Histochemically most of the cytomegalic cells contained cytoplasmic metachromatic granules with Feyrter's thionine inclusion stain. Scattered cells at the periphery of the cytomegalic foci contained periodic acid-Schiff-positive cytoplasmic granules. Ultrastructurally the cytomegalic cells contained numerous tightly-packed, often bizarre, enlarged mitochondria that completely filled the cytoplasm. The nucleus consisted of a dense central core of chromatin associated with the nucleolus and the remaining chromatin was clumped and marginalized. Nuclear and cytoplasmic virions consistent with cytomegalovirus were not present. Histochemical stains of the nucleus for heavy metals were negative. The ultrastructural and histochemical findings of the cytomegalic cells were consistent with oncocytes. Previous reports in the literature of similar cells in the salivary glands of insectivores appear to have been erroneously described as cytomegalovirus infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • veterinary(all)


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