Evidence for the delayed expression of a brainstem abnormality in albino ferrets

Exp Brain Res. 1989;74(3):658-62. doi: 10.1007/BF00247371.


Previous reports have suggested that neurons of the medial superior olivary nucleus in albino cats and rabbits are smaller than those in normally pigmented strains. In this investigation, the mean cross-sectional areas of neuronal perikarya in the medial superior olivary nucleus of pigmented and albino ferrets were compared at juvenile (14 weeks) and adult (greater than six months) ages. The mean cross-sectional area of the perikarya in adult albino ferrets was found to be 45% smaller than that of adult pigmented ferrets, confirming observations in cat and rabbit. The same comparison in juvenile ferrets, however, showed no significant differences. These results suggest that the mechanisms producing the abnormality of the auditory pathways differ from those responsible for the production of abnormal retinofugal pathways in albinos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albinism / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Carnivora / genetics*
  • Ferrets / anatomy & histology
  • Ferrets / genetics*
  • Olivary Nucleus / cytology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / growth & development