Journal of Comparative Pathology (2017)

DOI: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2017.05.005


Neuroectodermal developmental anomalies are reported rarely in cetaceans and central nervous system cysts are not described. We describe the gross, microscopical, histochemical and immunohistochemical features of a neuraxial myelencephalic cyst in a stranded neonatal Burmeister’s porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis). Grossly, a subdural, extra-axial, well-demarcated, yellow fluid-filled cystic structure (1.9 × 1.6 × 1 cm) expanded the left foramen of Luschka, the left caudolateral cerebellar recess and the left cranioventral myelencephalon. The cyst displaced the ipsilateral ventral paraflocculus and distended the underlying cranial nerves IX, X, XI and XII. Microscopically, the cystic structure was lined by a monolayer of low cuboidal to flattened epithelium supported by a thin fibrovascular matrix. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) revealed strong and diffuse expression of AE1/AE3 and focal positivity for vimentin. IHC for epithelial membrane antigen, glial fibrillary acid protein, synaptophysin and S100 was negative. Based on these findings, an extra-axial cyst of the choroid plexus of the fourth ventricle (CCPFV) was diagnosed. The pathological relevance of the CCPFV in this case is uncertain. The cause of death involved severe perinatal interspecific (shark) trauma. The present case provides the first evidence of a neuroepithelial cyst in cetacean species.