Between 1983 and 2012, six giant panda cubs (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) born at a zoological institution were stillborn or died between the ages of 3 and 200 h. Two of the six cubs had panhepatic centrilobular hepatic necrosis (CHN), granulocytic extramedullary hematopoiesis (GEM), positive liver culture for Staphylococcus species, and terminal liver failure. Another low-weight cub was administered oxygen therapy immediately after birth and developed hyaline membranes in air spaces and hepatic necrosis restricted to the hilar region. A retrospective analysis of liver and lung lesions, pulmonary microanatomy, blood–gas barrier ultrastructure, and hepatic myofibroblast proliferation was conducted on the six cubs. Neonates with CHN had concurrent severe periportal GEM accompanied by severe myofibroblast proliferation. The pulmonary blood–gas barrier was markedly increased in one cub with CHN. Developmentally, the lungs of all but one cub were at the late saccular stage, and the lowest-weight cub was in early saccular stage, consistent with immaturity, and had pneumonia comparable to neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Stage of lung development was eliminated as the primary factor leading to CHN. The pathogenesis of CHN in these neonates is proposed to be transformation of hepatic stellate cells to myofibroblasts initiating blockage and microvascular constriction of hepatic sinusoids, resulting in insufficient perfusion and cellular hypoxia of hepatocytes surrounding central veins in acinar zone 3.
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