Quantitative alterations after long-term alcohol administration in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Alcohol Alcohol. 1994 Jan;29(1):79-89.


The effects of chronic excessive alcohol ingestion on the central nervous system were studied in neurons of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). In this nucleus, neuron density and other morphometric parameters such as the somatic volume of the cells have been investigated both under normal conditions and under alcohol intoxication. Special attention was given to the possibility that positive somatic heteropycnosis may be a sign of imminent cell death. In addition, the percentage volumes occupied by normal neuronal soma and by affected cells were determined. Continuous alcohol treatment for 6 months reduced the size of certain types of neurons, the alteration being specially intense in areas with an abundance of larger neurons. In these areas more intense signs of somatic heteropycnosis also appeared. We discuss the relationship between the condition of the inhibitory neurons (GABAergic interneurons), the distribution of these in the lower zone of the nucleus, and their greater resistance to the influence of alcohol. This type of stereological analysis is intended to provide a better interpretation of the different degrees of the effects of alcohol, and to give more detailed information about changes at cellular level, both for comparative purposes with other situations and to shed light on the alterations caused by alcoholism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Count / drug effects
  • Geniculate Bodies / drug effects
  • Geniculate Bodies / pathology*
  • Nerve Degeneration / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Rabbits