Type C retroviral expression in spontaneous feline olfactory neuroblastomas

M. D. Schrenzel, R. J. Higgins, S. H. Hinrichs, M. O. Smith, M. Torten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Three cases of spontaneous olfactory neuroblastoma (ONB) in domestic cats were morphologically and immunocytochemically characterized. Diagnostic light microscopic features included Flexner and Homer-Wright rosettes, while ultrastructurally the cells had neuritic processes, intracellular intermediate filaments, and intercellular junctions. Immunocytochemically, the tumors stained positively for neuron-specific enolase, cytokeratins, and S-100 protein antigens. In each case, a key finding was the identification of numerous mature type C retroviral particles within the tumors. In one case, budding of viral particles from the plasmalemma of tumor cells suggested the source of mature particles. This cat and one other were tested, and both were serologically positive for feline leukemia virus (FeLV). The virus in the tumors was identified as FeLV by polymerase chain reaction and immunocytochemistry. No other neoplasms were found in any of the cats, nor was there similar evidence of active viral infection in other non-tumor tissues, including the brain. Although the relationship between FeLV infection and ONB is uncertain, our findings indicate that FeLV should be investigated as an etiologic agent of ONB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-553
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Feline
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Olfactory neuroblastoma
  • Type C retrovirus
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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