Haemosiderin deposition in donkey (equus asinus) liver: comparison of liver histopathology with liver iron content

Histopathological examination was carried out on post mortem samples of liver from 12 donkeys (Equus asinus), aged 21-57 years (4 females, 1 stallion, 7 geldings). Variable amounts of haemosiderin were present in Kupffer cells, portal macrophages and hepatocytes in all cases. In all cases there was infiltration of connective tissue around portal tracts by variable numbers of inflammatory cells (lymphocytes, plasma cells and macrophages) but obvious portal fibrosis was present in only four animals. Subjective assessment of overall haemosiderin staining (including extent and intensity) generally reflected biochemical measurements of liver iron content (measured by an inductively-coupled plasma method) as well as quantitative histochemical measurements (using an image analysis package and sections stained with Perl's Prussian blue stain). Accumulation of hepatic iron in old donkeys was not directly related to other pathological changes and may be an incidental finding.

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