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2015 | 62 | 3 | 457-463
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Splenic melanosis in agouti and black mice

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An interesting example of extradermal deposition of melanin in vertebrates, notably in mammals, is splenic melanosis. In particular, if the phenomenon of splenic melanosis is correlated with hair or skin pigmentation, it must reflect the amount and perhaps the quality of pigment produced in hair follicle melanocytes. The present paper is our first study on splenic pigmentation in mice of phenotype agouti. We used untreated mixed background mice C57BL/6;129/SvJ (black - a/a, agouti - A/a, A/A), and as a control - black C57BL/6 and agouti fur from 129/SvJ mice, Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) and golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). After euthanasia skin and spleen was evaluated macroscopically, photographed and collected for further analysis using Fontana-Masson and hematoxylin-eosin staining and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) at X-band. Spleens of the agouti mice revealed splenic melanosis but were slightly weaker pigmented than their black counterparts, while the presence of pheomelanin was difficult to determine. The fur of both phenotypes was of similar melanin content, with the same tendency as in the spleens. The contribution of pheomelanin in the agouti fur was on the border of detectability by EPR. Histological and EPR analysis confirmed the presence of melanin in the melanotic spleens. The shape of the EPR signal showed a dominance of eumelanin in fur and in melanized spleens in both phenotypes of mice. Therefore, splenic melanosis does reflect the hair follicle pigmentation not only in black, but also in agouti mice.
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  • Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
  • Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
  • Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
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