Cerebellar cortical degeneration associated with feline leukemia virus infection and cerebellar lymphoma in a young cat
Background: Cerebellar cortical degeneration (CCD) is the premature death of cerebellar neurons of heterogeneous etiology that is uncommonly observed as a neurological complication of certain neoplasia.
Case Description: Here, we report an 8-month-old male domestic cat with altered consciousness, symmetric ataxia, hypermetric gait, vertical positional nystagmus, mydriasis, strabismus, intention tremor of the head, and increased patellar reflexes. Neuroanatomical diagnosis suggested a multifocal brain dysfunction (cerebellar and cerebral). The cat tested seropositive for feline leukemia virus. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis indicated mononuclear and neutrophilic pleocytosis. Contrast computed tomography imaging revealed multiple hypodense heterogeneous areas in both cerebral hemispheres, mild ventriculomegaly at the level of the caudal fossa, and a circular sharply marginated, homogeneously hyperdense mass occupying the right cerebellar hemisphere. Postmortem study indicated a 1.1 × 1.3 × 1.2 cm mass in the right cerebellar hemisphere close to the vermis. Histopathological analysis showed diffuse and severe Purkinje cell loss with a decrease in granular cell density and moderate gliosis compatible with CCD. Further, numerous neoplastic lymphoid cells were observed in the infiltrated mass, consistent with a diagnosis of central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma. Immunohistochemistry showed CD20 expression, indicative of a B-cell immunophenotype. In humans, CCD is reported as a rare paraneoplastic syndrome in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. CNS lymphoma and/or Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) infection were both considered as a possible cause of CCD in this case.
Conclusion: This is the first described case of possible paraneoplastic cerebellar cortical degeneration associated with CNS lymphoma and/or FeLV infection in a domestic cat.
Keywords: Cat, Cerebellar degeneration, Feline leukemia virus, Lymphoma, Paraneoplastic syndrome.