Spontaneous vestibular syndrome in mice, characterized clinically by head tilt, circling or rolling, can be caused by otitis media, arteritis or central nervous system lesions. Postmortem examination of eleven non-inbred Swiss mice submitted for necropsy due to acute onset of vestibular signs revealed lesions consistent with brainstem infarction. The lesions were characterized by unilateral, well-demarcated areas of necrosis, malacia, and gliosis, with variable amounts of hemorrhage, in the lateral aspect of the medulla and caudal pons. The affected area included the medial, lateral and superior vestibular nuclei, the facial nucleus and the spinal trigeminal nucleus. While vestibular disease secondary to otitis media, periarteritis, and central nervous system neoplasia has been reported in many mouse strains, these unilateral brainstem infarctions were only seen in Swiss mice. These lesions share features with Wallenberg's Lateral Medullary Syndrome, the most common type of brainstem infarct in humans.
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