Pathological changes in cobalt-supplemented and non-supplemented twin lambs in relation to blood concentrations of methylmalonic acid and homocysteine.Vet Q. 1999 Jun; 21(3):93-8.VQ
In a controlled field study of three years' duration we evaluated the effect of cobalt supplementation on pathological changes in cobalt/vitamin B12-deficient Texel twin lambs grazing the same cobalt-deficient pasture. Semi-quantitative evaluation of the histopathology of liver and brain was done on 44 sets of twins. Pathological changes were related to blood concentrations of vitamin B12, methylmalonic acid, and homocysteine. Lesions were mainly confined to the liver and brain. Acute hepatic changes were characterized by steatosis, hepatocytic degeneration, and single cell necrosis. Chronic changes consisted of bile duct proliferation, the presence of ceroid containing macrophages, and fibrosis in the portal triads. Many non-supplemented lambs showed polymicrocavitation and Alzheimer type II reaction in the brain. Polioencephalomalacia was observed in three non-supplemented lambs but was regarded as a secondary lesion. Our results indicate that the main lesions found in cobalt/vitamin B12-deficient lambs are acute and chronic hepatitis. These lesions were associated with low concentrations of vitamin B12 and high concentrations of methylmalonic acid and homocysteine in the blood. The liver lesions were also associated with polymicrocavitation of the brain, probably as morphological evidence of hepatoencephalopathy.