Effects of undernutrition on cell formation in the rat brain and specially on cellular composition of the cerebellum

Brain Res. 1977 Mar 4;123(1):13-26. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(77)90640-0.


In 35-day-old rats which were undernourished by quantitative restriction of the mother's diet from the 6th day of gestation, the wet weight and the DNA content of the cerebellum were slightly more decreased than those of the cerebrum. Cell growth (estimated from the DNA concentration and form the ratios of RNA and protein to DNA) was significantly affected by food deprivation only in the cerebellum. In the cerebullar cortex, the number of Purkinje, Golgi and stellate cells were unchanged. The numbers of other cell tyes were affected to various extents: there were significantly less granules and basket cells per Purkinje cell, and a still more marked hypoplasia of glia involving the glial cells of the molecular layer, as well as the astrocytes of the internal granular layer and the Bergmann cells of the Purkinje cell layer. Finally, the total number of glial cells within the cortex was decreased by 44% against 13% for neurones. These effects of undernutrition on cell acquisition within the brain, and on the cellular composition of the cerebellum, contrast with those of thyroid deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Count
  • Cerebellum / analysis
  • Cerebellum / embryology
  • Cerebellum / growth & development*
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / analysis
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development
  • DNA / analysis
  • Female
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Neuroglia
  • Neurons
  • Nutrition Disorders / embryology
  • Nutrition Disorders / metabolism
  • Nutrition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Purkinje Cells
  • RNA / analysis
  • Rats


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA
  • DNA