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Effects of PBB on cattle. II. Gross pathology and histopathology.

  • P D Moorhead
  • L B Willett
  • F L Schanbacher
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1978
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Toxicosis was induced in pregnant Holstein heifers by feeding FireMaster BP-6 (polybrominated biphenyls) in daily oral doses of 25 g/head/day for 33--60 days. The individual heifers were dosed until each became moribund (days 33, 36, 39, 40, 41, or 66), at which time they were necropsied. Gross findings included dehydration, subcutaneous emphysema and hemorrhage, atrophy of the thymus, fetal death with concomitant necrosis of cotyledons, thickened wall of the gallbladder, inspissated bile, edema of abomasal folds, mucoid enteritis, linear hemorrhage and edema of the rectal mucosa, and secondary pneumonia. The livers were enlarged approximately 40%. Kidneys were approximately double the normal size and were pale tan to grey in color. The perirenal lymph nodes were enlarged and edematous. Microscopic changes were the most marked in the kidneys, gallbladder and eyelid. Extreme dilatation of collecting ducts and convoluted tubules with epithelial degenerative changes of cloudy swelling, hydropic degeneration and separation from the basement membrane were principal changes in the kidney. Hyperkeratosis with accumulations of keratin in hair follicles of the epidermis and squamous metaplasia with keratin cysts in the tarsal glands were characteristic findings in sections of eyelids. Moderate to marked hyperplasia and cystic dilatation of the mucous glands in the lamina propria were common changes in the gallbladder. Foci of fatty degeneration and glycogen depletion were observed in liver sections. Necropsy of heifers immediately after 60 days exposure to 0.25 and 250 mg/head/day of PBB showed no gross or histopathological signs indicating toxicosis. Following parturition, at approximately 220 days after the PBB doses, heifers from the 0.25 and 250 mg/head/day groups and their calves were necropsied and displayed no signs of toxicosis.

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