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Copper : 'Mysterious' moose disease in Sweden. Similarities to copper deficiency

1982 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  hsmomof4
: Science of Total Environment 1998 Jan 8;209(1):17-26

'Mysterious' moose disease in Sweden. Similarities to copper deficiency and/or molybdenosis in cattle and sheep. Biochemical background of clinical signs and organ lesions.

Frank A

Centre for Metal Biology in Uppsala, Sweden.

The moose (Alces alces L.) in an acid rain affected region in south-west Sweden has developed a complex disease with numerous clinical signs, most of which are consistent with those of secondary copper (Cu) deficiency and/or molybdenosis in cattle and sheep. The clinical signs of the moose disease reported to date include diarrhoea, anorexia, emaciation, achromotrichia, alopecia, sudden heart failure and osteoporosis. Findings at necropsy included mucosal oedema, atrophied lymphoid tissues of the mucous membranes of the alimentary tract, neuropathy, neuronal degeneration and uni- or bilateral corneal opacity. In a study of clinically healthy animals from the affected region in Sweden over a 12-year period (1982-1994), the hepatic Cu concentration decreased by 50% and the liver and kidney cadmium (Cd) concentration decreased by 25-35%, while the molybdenum (Mo) concentration increased by 20-40%. These changes are probably related to an increase in the pH of the soil and water in the moose environment and a consequent change in the uptake of these elements by the plants consumed by the moose. It is noteworthy that the occurrence of the disease in the mid 1980s coincided with increased liming undertaken to counteract the noxious effects of acid rain in this region. Clinical signs and lesions of the moose disease resemble those reported for Cu deficiency and/or molybdenosis in cattle and sheep. To elucidate the complex, multi-faceted clinical signs of the moose disease, the clinical signs and necropsy findings are discussed in relation to the biochemical functions of certain well-known Cu-dependent enzymes, e.g. depigmentation of hair due to depressed tyrosinase activity, osteoporosis by depressed lysyl oxidase activity, sudden heart failure due to decreased activity of lysyl oxidase, cytochrome c oxidase and Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase; in addition, mucosal lesions and ulcerations due to loss of activity of diamine oxidase as well as of lysyl oxidase and cytochrome c oxidase. It is concluded from the present findings that the moose disease is most probably a Cu deficiency and/or a molybdenosis-type syndrome.

PMID: 9496661, UI: 98157746
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Science Total Environment
2002 May 6;290(1-3):121-9

Myocardial cytochrome c oxidase activity in Swedish moose (Alces alces L.) affected by molybdenosis.

Frank A, Wibom R, Danielsson R.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala. [email protected]

Since the mid-1980s, a 'mysterious' wasting disease has been afflicting the moose (Alces alces L.) population of south-western Sweden. In 1994, molybdenosis combined with copper deficiency was suggested as the cause of this complex syndrome of clinical signs, diversity of necropsy findings and changes in trace element concentrations. These findings were corroborated by scientists in many countries by similar observations in other ruminants, particularly cattle and sheep, and also by changes in trace element concentrations and clinical chemical findings in our model experiments with goats. The biochemistry of copper is dependent on a number of copper-dependent enzymes in the animal organism. An important example is cytochrome c oxidase (COX), responsible for oxidative phosphorylation and energy production within the cell. In the present study, COX activity and trace element concentrations were determined in myocardium from affected and healthy moose. Citrate synthase (CS) activity was also measured for use as a mitochondrial marker. COX activity had decreased by 45% and the COX/CS ratio by 37%, while Mo and Na were found to have increased by 140% and 25%, respectively. The increase in Na was indicative of the frequently reported oedematous changes in 'flabby' moose heart. The concentrations of the elements Cu, Mg, Mn, P and Zn had decreased by 20%, 20%, 35%, 7% and 19%, respectively. The simultaneous decrease in COX activity and Cu concentration and the increase in Mo further support the hypothesis that molybdenosis is the cause of the moose disease.

PMID: 12083703 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Science Total Environment 2004 Sep 1;330(1-3):81-7

Trace elements in moose (Alces alces) found dead in Northwestern Minnesota, USA.

Custer TW, Cox E, Gray B.

US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, 2630 Fanta Reed Road, La Crosse, WI 54603, USA. [email protected]

The moose (Alces alces) population in bog and forest areas of Northwestern Minnesota has declined for more than 25 years, and more recently the decline is throughout Northwestern Minnesota. Both deficiencies and elevations in trace elements have been linked to the health of moose worldwide. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether trace element toxicity or deficiency may have contributed to the decline of moose in Northwestern Minnesota. Livers of 81 moose found dead in Northwestern Minnesota in 1998 and 1999 were analyzed for trace elements. With the exception of selenium (Se) and copper (Cu), trace elements were not at toxic or deficient levels based on criteria set for cattle. Selenium concentrations in moose livers based on criteria set for cattle were deficient in 3.7% of livers and at a chronic toxicity level in 16% of livers. Copper concentrations based on criteria set for cattle were deficient in 39.5% of livers, marginally deficient in 29.5% of livers and adequate in 31% of livers. Moose from agricultural areas had higher concentrations, on average, of Cd, Cu, Mo and Se in their livers than moose from bog and forest areas. Older moose had higher concentrations of Cd and Zn, and lower concentrations of Cu than younger moose. Copper deficiency, which has been associated with population declines of moose in Alaska and Sweden, may be a factor contributing to the decline of moose in Northwestern Minnesota.

PMID: 15325160 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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