Bovine papillomavirus DNA can be detected in keratinocytes of equine sarcoid tumors
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Veterinary microbiology. - Amsterdam
, p. 269-275
University of Antwerp
Bovine papillomavirus (BPV)-1 and -2 is linked to equine sarcoids, a commonly observed skin tumor in horses that is of considerable veterinary importance. Previous studies using in situ hybridization have detected BPV DNA only in fibroblasts and not in keratinocytes of sarcoids. In contrast, normal equine skin latently infected with BPV shows a dysplastic epithelium without dermal changes, similar to lesions induced by other papillomavirus types infecting the epithelium. The first goal of our study was to describe the epidermal and dermal characteristics of several stages in sarcoid development. Next, we explored whether BPV can infect epidermal cells in the horse using real-time PCR on laser-micro-dissected keratinocytes and fibroblasts. We found that latently infected normal skin samples and a subset of early stage sarcoids show dysplastic, koilocyte-like epithelial changes. BPV DNA was detected in keratinocytes in 40% of the samples with these particular epithelial properties, whereas advanced sarcoids only had BPV DNA in the fibroblasts. These data may indicate a novel and intriguing pathway of BPV infection in the horse composed of a first step of keratinocyte infection, followed by migration of viral material towards the dermis resulting in infection of sub-epidermal fibroblasts and their fully transformed phenotype. Additionally, an example of co-existence of a dermal BPV-1 and an epidermal BPV-2 infection in the same lesion is shown, indicating that horses can harbor infection with more than one BPV type at the same time.