Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a common disease in the English cocker spaniel (ECS) and is characterized histologically by duct destruction, interlobular fibrosis and dense periductular and perivenous lymphocytic aggregates. These features are also found in human autoimmune pancreatitis type 1, part of a glucocorticoid-responsive, multiorgan syndrome, newly recognized as IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD). Human IgG4-RD affects one or several organs, often showing a predominance of IgG4+ plasma cells histologically, with an IgG4+:total IgG+ plasma cell ratio of >40%. This study investigated whether ECSs with CP and/or inflammatory disease in several organs show an increase in IgG4+ plasma cells within affected tissues. Histological sections of pancreas, liver, kidney, salivary gland and conjunctiva were obtained from ECSs with idiopathic chronic inflammatory disease affecting those tissues. Tissue samples from age-matched dogs of other breeds with similar diseases were also sampled. Control diseased tissue samples, from dogs without a suspected immune-mediated disease, were included. A subset of ECSs and dogs of other breeds presented with disease in more than one organ. Immunohistochemistry was performed with primary reagents detecting total IgG and three of the four canine IgG subclasses (IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4). Normal sections of pancreas and liver showed an absence of labelled plasma cells of any subclass. Normal kidney and salivary gland sections showed the presence of a few labelled plasma cells (<10 plasma cells/high-power field). Fourteen tissue sections from 12 ECSs and seven sections from six dogs of other breeds showed elevated numbers of IgG4+ plasma cells and IgG4+:IgG+ ratios >40%. Individual dogs (ECSs and other breeds) showed marked increases in IgG4+ cells. There were no significant differences in the number of IgG4+ plasma cells between ECSs and dogs of other breeds for affected pancreas, liver, salivary glands and conjunctiva. Kidney sections had more IgG4+ cells, for both ECSs and dogs of other breeds, than did sections from other organs. Dogs of other breeds had significantly more IgG4+ plasma cells in affected kidneys than ECSs. In conclusion, several ECSs and dogs of other breeds fulfilled the histological criteria for the diagnosis of IgG4-RD, supporting the existence of a multiorgan immune-mediated disease in ECSs and some dogs of other breeds.
Keywords: English cocker spaniel IgG4-related disease chronic pancreatitis plasma cell