DAO prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03186

Hepatic lipomas and myelolipomas in subsistence-harvested bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus, Barrow, Alaska: a case review 1980–2016

Raphaela Stimmelmayr, David Rotstein, Mauricio Seguel, Nicole Gottdenker

*Email: raphaela.stimmelmayr@north-slope.org

ABSTRACT: We describe a case series of benign hepatic fatty tumors in 10 subsistence-harvested bowhead whales. Microscopic features included lipomatous and myelolipomatous masses. Extensive atrophy and/or destruction of hepatic parenchyma was not observed. No other significant disease was present except in an animal with unrelated chronic pleuritis. Based on our longitudinal case series (1980–2016) which identified 1–2 hepatic lipomas and myelolipomas in landed whales per year at Barrow, Alaska, since 2012, hepatic lipomas and myelolipomas are occasionally seen in hunter-harvested bowhead whales. A conservative estimate for the percentage of bowhead whales with hepatic fatty tumors in landed whales in Barrow, Alaska, from 2012 to 2016 was 6% (7/111). The pathogenesis and exact cell origin of these benign fatty tumors in bowhead whales is undetermined. Assessment of further cases is warranted to better define the tissue distribution and pathogenesis of these tumors in bowhead whale liver.