Selective vulnerability of peripheral nerves in avian riboflavin deficiency demyelinating polyneuropathy.Vet Pathol 2009; 46(1):88-96VP
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency in young chickens produces a demyelinating peripheral neuropathy. In this study, day-old broiler meat chickens were fed a riboflavin-deficient diet (1.8 mg/kg) and killed on posthatch days 6, 11, 16, 21, and 31, while control chickens were given a conventional diet containing 5.0 mg/kg riboflavin. Pathologic changes were found in sciatic, cervical, and lumbar spinal nerves of riboflavin-deficient chickens from day 11 onwards, characterized by endoneurial oedema, hypertrophic Schwann cells, tomacula (redundant myelin swellings), demyelination/remyelination, lipid deposition, and fibroblastic onion bulb formation. Similar changes were also found in large and medium intramuscular nerves, although they were less severe in the latter. However, by contrast, ventral and dorsal spinal nerve roots, distal intramuscular nerves, and subcutaneous nerves were normal at all time points examined. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, that riboflavin deficiency in young, rapidly growing chickens produces selective injury to peripheral nerve trunks, with relative sparing of spinal nerve roots and distal nerve branches to muscle and skin. These novel findings suggest that the response of Schwann cells in peripheral nerves with riboflavin deficiency differs because either there are subsets of these cells in, or there is variability in access of nutrients to, different sites within the nerves.