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Characterization of an Inherited Neurologic Syndrome in Toyger Cats with Forebrain Commissural Malformations, Ventriculomegaly and Interhemispheric Cysts.



In children, frequent congenital malformations with concomitant agenesis of the corpus callosum are diagnosed by neuroimaging in association with other cerebral malformations, including interhemispheric cysts and ventriculomegaly. Similar studies providing full characterization of brain defects by in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and correlations with the pertinent anatomic pathologic examinations are absent in veterinary medicine.


Congenital brain defects underlie the neurologic signs observed in Toyger cats selectively bred for a short ear phenotype.


Using proper pedigree analysis and genetic evaluations, 20 related Oriental-derived crossbred Toyger cats were evaluated. Seven clinically healthy (carrier) cats and 13 clinically affected cats that had neurologic signs, short ear phenotype and concomitant complex brain anomalies were studied.


Complete physical and neurologic examinations and MRI were performed in all clinically healthy and affected cats. Postmortem and histopathologic examinations were performed in 8 affected cats and 5 healthy cats.


Neurologic and MRI investigations confirmed 13 clinically affected cats with structural brain abnormalities. Ventriculomegaly with frequent concomitant supratentorial interhemispheric, communicating ventricular type-1b cysts and multiple midline and callosal malformations were detected in all cats displaying neurologic signs. Genetic analysis confirmed autosomal recessive mode of inheritance with no chromosomal abnormalities.

Conclusions and clinical importance

Neuroanatomic dissections and histopathology were helpful for evaluation of abnormalities in midline brain structures, and for the full characterization of cysts. However, MRI was more sensitive for detection of small cysts. In this feline model, MRI diagnosis had extremely good correlation with pathologic abnormalities noted in the subset of animals that were examined by both modalities.

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