Cellular origins of ultraviolet radiation-induced corneal tumours in the grey, short-tailed South American opossum (Monodelphis domestica)

D. F. Kusewitt, G. B. Hubbard, A. R. Warbritton, S. W. McLeskey, K. B. Miska, R. D. Henkel, E. S. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Corneal tumours were induced in almost 100% of grey, short-tailed South American opossums (Monodelphis domestica) exposed three times weekly to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) for periods of a year or more. Five tumours, representing the morphological spectrum of UVR-induced corneal tumours (two fibrosarcomas, one malignant fibrous histiocytoma, one putative haemangiosarcoma, and one squamous cell carcinoma overlying a sarcoma), were assayed immunohistochemically for reactivity with antibodies against the intermediate filaments vimentin, smooth muscle actin (α isoform), muscle-specific actins (α and γ isoforms), desmin and cytokeratin, and with antibodies against the vascular endothelial marker von Willebrand factor. The squamous cell carcinoma was cytokeratin-positive. Other tumours were cytokeratin-negative and vimentin-positive. Three tumours had scattered individual cells and groups of cells immunoreactive with antibodies against smooth muscle actin and muscle-specific actins; two tumours (a fibrosarcoma and the malignant fibrous histiocytoma) had small numbers of desmin-positive cells. The putative haemangiosarcoma contained two populations of neoplastic cells, von Willebrand factor-positive vascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle actin-positive spindle cells. It was concluded (1) that UVR-induced corneal tumours may be composed of cells derived from resident epithelial cells, immigrant vascular endothelial cells, or fibroblast-like cells of unknown origin, and (2) that such tumours may contain more than one neoplastic cell type. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • veterinary(all)


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