Neuronal loss from the frontal superior cortex of the brains of alcoholics has recently been documented. In addition to this, a reduction in the mean neuronal area was also seen in the frontal and motor cortices. This suggested a regional specificity of neuronal damage in the brains of alcoholics. Further quantitation of other cortical regions of the same cases as used in the above study has been performed. The frontal cingulate and temporal cortices were examined and there was found to be no significant alteration in the number of neurons when compared to a control population. There was, however, a significant reduction in the mean size of the neuronal soma in the frontal cingulate cortex (P < 0.05). These data support the hypothesis of regional variations in the severity of cerebral cortical damage in alcoholism with shrinkage of neurons in most regions examined but neuronal loss only in the superior frontal gyrus.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Alvarez MG, Stoltenburg-Didinger G, Aruffo C (1986) “Ageing” of spine morphology in hippocampal pyramidal cells of rats prenatally exposed to ethanol — A Golgi study. Int Congr Neuropathol 10:282
Anderson JM, Hubbard BM, Coghill GR, Slidders W (1983) The effect of advanced age on the neurone content of the cerebral cortex. J Neurol Sci 58:233–244
Brody H (1955) Organization of the cerebral cortex III. A study of aging in the human cerebral cortex. J Comp Neurol 102:511–556
Carlen PL, Wilkinson DA, Wortzman G, Holgate R, Cordingley J, Lee MA, Huszar L, Moddel G, Singh R, Kiraly L, Rankin JG (1981) Cerebral atrophy and functional deficits in alcoholics without clinically apparent liver disease. Neurology 31:377–385
Corbett D, Harper C (1988) A Golgi study of the cortical neurones in alcoholics. Neurosci Lett 1988 [Suppl] 30:s59
Courville CB (1955) Effects of alcohol on the nervous system of man. San Lucas Press, Los Angeles
Davies DL, Smith DE (1981) A Golgi study of mouse hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurones following perinatal ethanol exposure. Neurosci Lett 26:49–54
Ferrer I, Fabregues I, Pineda M, Gracia I, Ribalta T (1984) A Golgi study of cerebellar atrophy in human chronic alcoholism. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 10:245–253
Harper CG (1983) The incidence of Wernicke's encephalopathy in Australia — a neuropathological study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 46:593–598
Harper CG, Kril JJ, Holloway RL (1985) Brain shirinkage in chronic alcoholics — a pathological study. Br Med J 290:501–504
Harper C, Kril J (1987) Are we drinking our neurones away? Br Med J 294:534–536
Harper CG, Kril JJ, Daly JM (1987) The specific gravity of the brains of alcoholic and control patients: a pathological study. Br J Addict 82:1349–1354
Harper CG, Kril JJ, Daly JM (1988) Brain shrinkage in alcoholics is not caused by changes in hydration: a pathological study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 51:124–127
Haug H, Kuhl S, Mecke E, Sass N, Wasner K (1984) The significance of morphometric procedures in the investigation of age changes in cytoarchitectonic structures of human brain. J Hirnforsch 25:353–374
Jacobson RR, Lishman WA (1987) Selective memory loss and global intellectual deficits in alcoholic Korsakoff's syndrome. Psychol Med 17:649–655
Lishman WA, Jacobson RR, Acker C (1987) Brain damage in alcoholism: current concepts. Acta Med Scand [Suppl] 717:5–17
Mountjoy CQ, Roth M, Evans NJR, Evans HM (1983) Cortical neuronal counts in normal elderly controls and demented patients. Neurobiol Aging 4:1–11
Pentney RJ, Cotter JR, Abel EL (1984) Quantitative measures of mature neuronal morphology after in utero ethanol exposure. Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol 6:59–65
Ron MA (1983) The alcoholic brain: CT and psychological findings. Psychol Med [Monogr Suppl] 3:1–33
Tavares MA, Paula-Barbosa MM (1983) Lipofuscin granules in Purkinje cells after long-term alcohol consumption in rats. Alcoholism: Clin Exp Res 7:302–306
Terry RD, Peck A, DeTeresa R, Schechter R, Horoupian DS (1981) Some morphological aspects of the brain in senile dementia of the Alzheimer type. Ann Neurol 10:184–192
Terry RD, DeTeresa R, Hansen LA (1987) Neocortical cell counts in normal human adult aging. Ann Neurol 21:530–539
Supported by grants from the National Health & Medical Research Council (No. 870564), the Clive and Vera Ramiacotti Foundations and Sandoz Foundation for Gerontological Research
About this article
Cite this article
Kril, J.J., Harper, C.G. Neuronal counts from four cortical regions of alcoholic brains. Acta Neuropathol 79, 200–204 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00294379
- Neuronal counts