Although many age-related changes have been described in the nervous system of different species, few authors have specifically studied the topic. Knowledge of such changes is essential to veterinary pathologists, who must distinguish the lesions of specific pathologic processes from those arising as a result of normal aging. The brains of 20 old dogs, ranging in age from 8 to 18 years, were compared with those of 10 young dogs using routine staining techniques (hematoxilin and eosin, periodic acid-Schiff), special staining techniques (periodic acid-methenamine silver stain), and immunohistochemical techniques to detect glial fibrillary acid protein, neurofilaments, ubiquitin, and β-amyloid. Changes affected meninges and choroid plexuses, meningeal and parenchymal vessels, neurons, and glial cells. Of special interest was the presence of polyglucosan bodies, cerebrovascular amyloid deposition, senile plaques, and ubiquitinated bodies. Some of the age-related changes found, particularly lipofuscin, polyglucosan bodies, and β-amyloid protein deposition, may play a role in the pathogenesis of the canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. The dog could be used as a natural animal model for the study of normal aging and human neurodegenerative diseases.
- Nervous system