Pathology and pathogenesis of ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma

J Comp Pathol. 2010 May;142(4):260-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2009.12.013. Epub 2010 Feb 16.


Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA), also known as jaagsiekte, is a transmissible lung tumour of sheep caused by jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV). JSRV induces neoplastic transformation of alveolar and bronchiolar secretory epithelial cells and the resulting tumours can grow to occupy a significant portion of the lung. Tumour growth is frequently accompanied by the overproduction of fluid in the lung, which further compromises normal respiration. The period between infection and the appearance of clinical signs may be several months or years and many JSRV-infected sheep do not exhibit clinical signs at all during their lifespan. This allows the spread of OPA into new flocks through contact with infected but apparently normal animals. OPA was first described in the early 19th century; however, it has still not been possible to devise effective methods for controlling its spread and it remains an important problem in most countries where sheep are farmed. This is due in part to the absence of an immunological response to JSRV in infected animals, which has hindered the development of serological diagnostic tests and vaccines. In addition to its veterinary importance, OPA is regarded as a potential large animal model for human lung adenocarcinoma and this has stimulated research into the pathogenesis of the ovine disease. This work has produced some significant results, including the finding that one of the JSRV structural proteins is directly involved in oncogenesis. The recent advances in understanding JSRV and the pathogenesis of OPA should lead to novel strategies for diagnosis and control of this disease and for its exploitation as a comparative model for human lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / virology*
  • Animals
  • Body Fluids / virology
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Humans
  • Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus / genetics
  • Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus / physiology*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / virology
  • Models, Animal
  • Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Ovine* / etiology
  • Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Ovine* / pathology
  • Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Ovine* / virology
  • Sheep / genetics
  • Sheep / virology
  • Sheep Diseases / genetics
  • Sheep Diseases / pathology
  • Sheep Diseases / virology*
  • Sheep, Domestic / genetics
  • Sheep, Domestic / virology