[MARMAM] New publications on fat embolism in stranded cetaceans

marina arregui ag_marina at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 14 02:36:45 PDT 2020

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of the animal pathology laboratory of the Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, we are pleased to announce the following two publications on fat embolism in stranded cetaceans:

Arregui, M., Glandon, H. L., Bernaldo de Quirós, Y., Felipe-Jiménez, I., Consoli, F., Caballero, M. J., Koopman, H. N. and Fernandez, A. (2020a). Lipids of lung and lung fat emboli of the toothed whales (Odontoceti). Sci. Rep. 10, 14752.

Abstract: Lipids are biomolecules present in all living organisms that, apart from their physiological functions, can be involved in different pathologies. One of these pathologies is fat embolism, which has been described histologically in the lung of cetaceans in association with ship strikes and with gas and fat embolic syndrome. to assess pathological lung lipid composition, previous knowledge of healthy lung tissue lipid composition is essential; however, these studies are extremely scarce in cetaceans. In the present study we aimed first, to characterize the lipids ordinarily present in the lung tissue of seven cetacean species; and second, to better understand the etiopathogenesis of fat embolism by comparing the lipid composition of lungs positive for fat emboli, and those negative for emboli in Physeter macrocephalus and Ziphius cavirostris (two species in which fat emboli have been described). Results showed that lipid content and lipid classes did not differ among species or diving profiles. In contrast, fatty acid composition was significantly different between species, with C16:0 and C18:1ω9 explaining most of the differences. This baseline knowledge of healthy lung tissue lipid composition will be extremely useful in future studies assessing lung pathologies involving lipids. concerning fat embolism, non-significant differences could be established between lipid content, lipid classes, and fatty acid composition. However, an unidentified peak was only found in the chromatogram for the two struck whales and merits further investigation.

Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-71658-8

Arregui, M., Fernández, A., Paz-Sánchez, Y., Santana, Á., Sacchini, S., Sierra, E., Arbelo, M. and Bernaldo de Quirós, Y. (2020b). Comparison of three histological techniques for fat emboli detection in lung cetacean’s tissue. Sci. Rep. 10, 8251.

Abstract: Fat embolism is the mechanical blockage of blood vessels by circulating fat particles. it is frequently related to traumas involving soft tissues and fat-containing bones. Different techniques have been used for decades to demonstrate histologically fat emboli, being the extremely toxic post-fixation with osmium tetroxide one of the most used techniques in the last decades. in the present study, the osmium tetroxide technique was compared qualitatively and quantitatively, for the first time, with chromic acid and Oil Red O frozen techniques for histological fat emboli detection in the lungs of eight sperm whales that died due to ship strikes. This was also the first time that chromic acid technique was tested in cetaceans. Results showed that the three techniques were valuable for the histological detection of fat embolism in cetaceans, even when tissues presented advanced autolysis and had been stored in formaldehyde for years. Although quantitative differences could not be established, the Oil Red O frozen technique showed the lowest quality for fat emboli staining. on the contrary, the chromic acid technique was proven to be a good alternative to osmium tetroxide due to its slightly lower toxicity, its equivalent or even superior capacity of fat emboli detection, and its significantly lower economic cost.

Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-64821-8

Best regards,

Marina Arregui

Antonio Fernández

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