Alopecia areata in Eringer cows.Vet Dermatol. 2010 Dec; 21(6):545-53.VD
Alopecia areata is a hair loss disorder in humans, dogs and horses with a suspected autoimmune aetiology targeting anagen hair follicles. Alopecia areata is only sporadically reported in cows. Recently, we observed several cases of suspected alopecia areata in Eringer cows. The aim of this study was to confirm the presumptive diagnosis of alopecia areata and to define the clinical phenotype and histopathological patterns, including characterization of the infiltrating inflammatory cells. Twenty Eringer cows with alopecia and 11 Eringer cows without skin problems were included in this study. Affected cows had either generalized or multifocal alopecia or hypotrichosis. The tail, forehead and distal extremities were usually spared. Punch biopsies were obtained from the centre and margin of alopecic lesions and normal haired skin. Histological examination revealed several alterations in anagen hair bulbs. These included peri- and intrabulbar lymphocytic infiltration, peribulbar fibrosis, degenerate matrix cells with clumped melanosomes and pigmentary incontinence. Mild lymphocytic infiltrative mural folliculitis was seen in the inferior segment and isthmus of the hair follicles. Hair shafts were often unpigmented and dysplastic. The large majority of infiltrating lymphocytes were CD3(+) T cells, whereas only occasional CD20(+) lymphocytes were present in the peribulbar infiltrate. Our findings confirm the diagnosis of T-cell-mediated alopecia areata in these cows. Alopecia areata appears to occur with increased frequency in the Eringer breed, but distinct predisposing factors could not be identified.