Hepatocyte ploidy in cats with and without hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Domestic cats rarely develop hepatocellular carcinoma. The reason for the low prevalence is unknown. Reductions in hepatocellular ploidy have been associated with hepatic carcinogenesis. Recent work in mice has shown that livers with more polyploid hepatocytes are protected against the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocyte ploidy in the domestic cat has not been evaluated. We hypothesized that ploidy would be reduced in peri-tumoral and neoplastic hepatocytes compared to normal feline hepatocytes. Using integrated fluorescence microscopy, we quantified the spectra of ploidy in hepatocellular carcinoma and healthy control tissue from paraffin embedded tissue sections.


Feline hepatocytes are predominantly mononuclear and the number of nuclei per hepatocyte did not differ significantly between groups. Normal cats have a greater number of tetraploid hepatocytes than cats with hepatocellular carcinoma.


Total hepatocellular polyploidy in normal cat liver is consistent with values reported in humans, yet cellular ploidy (nuclei per cell) is greater in humans than in cats. Tetraploid cat hepatocytes are predominantly mononuclear.

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BMC veterinary research

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