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Ultrastructural changes in chick cerebellum induced by vitamin E deficiency


Focal lesions were induced in the cerebellum by feeding chickens a diet high in unsaturated fats and deficient in vitamin E. Ultrastructurally, the lesions consisted of central and peripheral zones. The central zone was characterized in the cortex and white matter by enlargement of the intercellular space, swelling of astrocytes, vacuolization of oligodendrocytes, ballooning of nerve fibers, degenerative changes in small blood vessels, and extravasation of plasma and blood cells. The peripheral zone was characterized by enlargement of the intercellular space in the white matter, swelling of astrocytes in the cortex, and the accumulation of dark bodies in the endothelium of small blood vessels. The results suggest that this nutritional encephalopathy is caused by alterations in the permeability of the vascular bed due to the dietary stress of unsaturated fatty acids in the absence of vitamin E.

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Supported by Public Health Service Grant NB 06918 and performed in the Gordon R. and Thelma B. Coates Electron Microscopy Laboratory

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Young, P.A., Taylor, J.J., Yu, W.-.A. et al. Ultrastructural changes in chick cerebellum induced by vitamin E deficiency. Acta Neuropathol 25, 149–160 (1973).

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Key words

  • Nutritional Encephalopathy
  • Brain Edema
  • Vitamin E Deficiency
  • Electron Microscopy