Studies on the Lesions Produced by the Action of Certain Poisons on the Cortical Nerve Cell

1896 Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease  
Brain, Win¬ ter, 1895. Part LXXII.) Part I.-Sec. 1. Experimental lesions produced by the action of absolute ethyl alcohol on the nerve cells of the rabbit's brain. The author is in unison with Lewis' ideas of the coarse changes produced by the continued abuse of alcohol upon the nerve cell. But he has gone further in his studies and demon¬ strates not only the condition of the protoplasmic body, but the early changes in the finest twigs of the dendrites and the finest variations of the nucleus
more » ... ons of the nucleus and nucleolus. The brain of rabbits were used for this experimental work. Specimens were hardened either in alcohol or Miieller's fluid. For the study of the finer dendrites of the nerve cells, the author has devised a ready method of his own. It consists in allowing the specimen to harden in Miieller's fluid, then to cut them up into pieces three millimetres in thickness, and then immerse them in a mixture of a three per cent, solution of bichromate of potash and a solution of one per cent, osmic acid in the propor¬ tion of 100 parts of the former to 20 of the latter. In this mix¬ ture the specimens remain from three to five days and are then washed for a few minutes in a weak solution of nitrate of silver. They are then put into the staining mixture, which is made by adding 2 gtt. of a ten per cent, solution of phosphomolybdic acid to each 60 cc of a nitrate of silver solution in distilled water. Here they remain two to three days. With regard to the histology of the absolute alcohol sec¬ tions from the alcohol brain, the author found in some of the specimens a distinct alteration of the nuclei, chiefly in the dis¬ position, size and irregularity of certain of the nuclear cliromopliilic particles. In these same specimens few definite lesions could be determined in the blood vessels, with the exception of the perivascular dilatations and haemorrhages. With regard to the pathological histology of the rabbit's cortex in chronic alcoholism, a careful comparison with control preparations shows the following differences. The cell bodies and main processes are more even and smoother, the dendrites are broader, the gemmulce are longer and more numerous, thicker, more feathery, apparently spreading over more lateral surface and are very regular in appearance, while in the alcoholic brain, there is a gap here and there as if some of them had fallen off, or had disappeared. Indeed, the difference is well expressed by the author who calls the normal one in appear¬ ance stouter than its fellow. A vast number of the cells show upon their protoplasmic extensions one or more swellings of a
doi:10.1097/00005053-189604000-00012 fatcat:tg77fidgp5hujohwav2c2lrdxe