Abstract: Celiac Disease (CD) shares many similarities with Chronic Enteropathies (CE) in dogs. Histology is commonly used to confirm diagnosis of CD with typical changes including decreased villous height-crypt depth ratio alongside reduced enterocyte height and width. As recent WSAVA histology indices emphasized the importance of mucosal architectural changes over inflammatory infiltrates, we aimed to evaluate whether enterocyte height and width were altered in dogs with CE.
Sixty-six dogs were included in the study (18 healthy adults, 19 healthy puppies, 11 dogs with CE and protein losing enteropathy (CE +PLE), and 18 dogs with CE without PLE (CE-PLE)). Paraffin-embedded duodenal biopsies (12 biopsies/dog on average) were digitalized using an Aperio scanner and analyzed for measurement of enterocytes with ImageJ software. Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA and statistical significance set at α: 0.05.
Enterocyte height was significantly reduced in dogs with CE+PLE (21.34 ± 7.01µm) as compared to dogs with CE-PLE (25.08 ± 7.92µm) and healthy adult dogs (25.02 ± 8.84µm). The smallest height values were reported in healthy puppies (17.04 ± 4.79µm). In addition, both, dogs with CE+PLE (4.94 ± 1.20µm) and CE-PLE (4.61 ± 1.43µm) had reduced enterocyte width when compared with healthy adult dogs (5.54 ± 1.53µm) and healthy puppies (5.39 ± 1.46µm).
In conclusion, these data suggest that enterocyte height/width are significantly decreased in the duodenum of dogs with CE, consistent with previous observations in patients with CD. These findings further confirm the presence of significant architectural changes in the intestinal mucosa of dogs with CE.