A study of the effects of vigabatrin on the central nervous system and retina of Sprague Dawley and Lister-Hooded rats

Toxicol Pathol. 1987;15(2):143-8. doi: 10.1177/019262338701500203.


Vigabatrin (gamma-vinyl GABA), an enzyme-activated, irreversible inhibitor of GABA transaminase, was administered orally to albino Sprague Dawley and pigmented Lister-Hooded rats. A dose-dependent retinal lesion characterized histologically by disruption of the outer nuclear layer was observed in the Sprague Dawley rat but not in Lister-Hooded rats, indicating that this alteration is related to the absence of pigment. The lesion is similar to that induced in albino rats by light and certain drugs. In addition, myelin vacuolation of the brain was observed in both rat strains, consistent with the findings of other toxicity studies with vigabatrin. In all cases, the vacuolation was limited to myelinated tracts and resulted from separation of the myelin sheath at the intraperiod line. There was no evidence of demyelination, axonal degeneration or damage to contiguous structures in the affected areas. The vacuolation is histologically similar to that induced in rats by certain other compounds such as isoniazid, hexachlorophene, and triethyltin, but differs in that it is focal in distribution, it is limited to the brain, and is reversible upon cessation of treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminobutyrate Transaminase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Aminocaproates / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / toxicity*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Male
  • Myelin Sheath / drug effects
  • Myelin Sheath / ultrastructure
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / pathology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Vacuoles / drug effects
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure
  • Vigabatrin


  • Aminocaproates
  • Anticonvulsants
  • 4-Aminobutyrate Transaminase
  • Vigabatrin