Virchows Archiv B

, 58:323 | Cite as

The response of primary cultured adult mouse sensory neurons to ethanol, propanol, acetaldehyde and acrolein treatments

  • R. A. Smith
  • D. J. Orr
  • M. L. Haetzman
  • N. MacPherson
  • N. D. Storey


Primary cultures of adult mouse sensory neurons maintained for 8 days in vitro (8 div), in both the presence of non-neuronal cell (NNC) outgrowth and in NNC-reduced cultures, were exposed to doses of ethanol, propanol, acetaldehyde and acrolein. The effects on cell viability were monitored: LD50’s of 600 μM acrolein and 100 mM propanol were obtained after 24 h exposures and after 48 h with 1 mM acetaldehyde and 500 mM ethanol. Morphological effects were evident by scanning electron microscopy with sub-acute doses for each agent, using both lower concentrations and shorter exposures. Membrane pitting of the perikaryon and a reduction in the proportion of neurons bearing neurites were common signs of toxic insult. The neurites of treated cells were thicker and more irregular than those of untreated cells; this proved a good indicator of specific neurotoxicity rather than merely a cytotoxic response. Fetal calf serum in the medium lessened the response of neurons to ethanol treatments. Comparison with other in vitro studies suggests these primary cultures are a more sensitive system than established cell lines of neuronal origin for use in neurotoxicity testing.

Key words

Adult neurons “In vitro” Toxicology Ethanol Propanol Acetaldehyde Acrolein 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Smith
    • 1
  • D. J. Orr
    • 1
  • M. L. Haetzman
    • 1
  • N. MacPherson
    • 1
  • N. D. Storey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland

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