A Review of Current Standards and the Evolution of Histopathology Nomenclature for Laboratory Animals.
The need for international collaboration in rodent pathology has evolved since the 1970s and was initially driven by the new field of toxicologic pathology. First initiated by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer for rodents, it has evolved to include pathology of the major species (rats, mice, guinea pigs, nonhuman primates, pigs, dogs, fish, rabbits) used in medical research, safety assessment, and mouse pathology. The collaborative effort today is driven by the needs of the regulatory agencies in multiple countries, and by needs of research involving genetically engineered animals, for "basic" research and for more translational preclinical models of human disease. These efforts led to the establishment of an international rodent pathology nomenclature program. Since that time, multiple collaborations for standardization of laboratory animal pathology nomenclature and diagnostic criteria have been developed, and just a few are described herein. Recently, approaches to a nomenclature that is amenable to sophisticated computation have been made available and implemented for large-scale programs in functional genomics and aging. Most terminologies continue to evolve as the science of human and veterinary pathology continues to develop, but standardization and successful implementation remain critical for scientific communication now as ever in the history of veterinary nosology.