The Division of Comparative Pathology has a significant service commitment to the Center, and these service functions can be divided into major areas:
- Anatomic pathology, necropsy and biopsy services
- Clinical pathology
- Tissue based molecular pathology and imaging services
Pathology service support is provided to the Center's clinical veterinary staff as part of our colony surveillance program. The Division also furnishes support in each of these areas to staff scientists within other divisions at the Center as well as to collaborating scientists from around the world.
The Anatomic Pathology Core encompasses the necropsy and biopsy services of the Division's functions in supporting the health of the colonies as well as diagnostic research support. The necropsy and biopsy service provides investigators and collaborators at the Center with gross and histopathologic evaluations of organs and tissues for the purpose of understanding pathologic changes either for diseases that spontaneously arise in the colony or in relation to experimental protocols. In addition, the service assists the clinical veterinarians with colony health and management. The necropsy and biopsy service is the Center's primary means to survey, identify, and investigate new disease conditions in nonhuman primates. These investigations serve not only to provide further understanding of disease processes in general, but also have the potential to identify new models for the study of human disease.
The Clinical Pathology Laboratory Core provides clinical data for animals involved in specific research projects as well as colony animals. The laboratory furnishes complete hematology, chemistry, fecal analysis, fluid analysis, urinalysis, bacterial and fungal culture and identification, and cytology support for all TNPRC animals. The Clinical Pathology Laboratory Core is currently staffed by two Medical Research Specialists and a Laboratory Supervisor, all three of whom are ASCP registered Medical Technologists. The primary responsibility of this unit is to perform hematology, clinical chemistry and bacteriology for the medical care of the animal colony and to support numerous research projects from scientists here at the TNPRC and around the world. The service also provides important diagnostic support for the veterinarians in managing the health and well-being of the animals in the colony.
The (CMMPC) provides assistance, service, and training for NIH funded core and affiliate investigators with confocal microscopy, multi-color immunofluorescent staining, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, image analysis, and digital imaging. It is increasingly clear that in situ, tissue-based investigations are needed for a variety of research disciplines including infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, biodefense, and other diseases that specifically target certain tissues. For example, there has been a tremendous call for identifying cell and tissue reservoirs in SIV or SHIV-infected animals for treatment, prevention, and cure strategies for HIV infection and AIDS. Similarly, there is a need for tissue based quantifications of the severity of lung lesions in tuberculosis to fully evaluate treatment or vaccine efficacy. Further, trained pathologists are often required to distinguish regions of interest in tissues such as germinal center and mantle regions in lymph nodes, effector versus inductive lymphoid tissues in gut, the various regions and cells of the female and male reproductive systems, placental, and other fetal tissues. These are mission critical services provided to NIH funded investigators involving studies of vaccine responses, immunogenicity, viral target cells and reservoirs, as well as mucosal and neonatal immunology, and more recently, the effects of Zika infections on placental and CNS tissues of infants. The simultaneous evaluation of normal and diseased tissues by trained pathologists, linked with confocal microscopy, molecular, and immunohistochemical studies have always been a tremendous strength of faculty in the Division of Comparative Pathology, which is why the CMMPC was established.