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Diagnostic exercise: sudden death in a mouse with experimentally induced acute myeloid leukemia

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  • Medicine


A 22-week-old female 129/SvEv mouse suddenly died in the context of an experiment aimed at defining the efficacy of valproic acid in a mouse model of PML/RARα-induced acute myeloid leukemia. Histologic analysis confirmed the mouse as being affected by a progressive myeloid leukemia, with infiltration of the spleen, bone marrow, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Variably sized intravascular clumps (emboli) of dense basophilic material admixed with necrotic or lytic neoplastic cells were also observed in multiple organs. A positive reaction to Feulgen and Hoechst stain confirmed the high content in chromatin of these basophilic emboli. Cleaved caspase-3 activity was demonstrated both in the leukemic infiltrates and among the intravascular necrotic or lytic neoplastic cells accompanying the basophilic emboli. A diagnosis of acute tumor lysis syndrome related to therapy-induced massive necrosis and/or apoptosis of leukemic cells with subsequent dissemination of emboli of chromatin was proposed.

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