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Spinal Cord, Dorsal Root Ganglion, Neuron - Vacuolation

Image of Vacuolation in the Dorsal root ganglion from a Not specified Not specified Not specified in a Not specified  Study
Normal appearance of rat dorsal root ganglionic neurons (cresyl violet). Image provided courtesy Dr. G. Krinke.
Figure 1 of 2
Image of Vacuolation in the Dorsal root ganglion from a Not specified Not specified Not specified in a Not specified  Study
Genuine dorsal root ganglionic vacuoles, appearing as variably sized, but generally large, clear vacuoles in the perikaryon of the affected neurons, may be accompanied by chromatolysis (arrow). Image provided courtesy Dr. G. Krinke.
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comment:

Neuronal vacuolation, while it may be seen in any population of neurons undergoing degeneration, is a particular concern for its neuropathologic significance in the dorsal root ganglia. Figure 1image opens in a pop-up window shows the normal appearance of rat dorsal root ganglionic neurons. At issue diagnostically is the recognition that neuronal vacuolation at these ganglionic sites may occasionally be present at a low incidence in tissue not exposed to toxic compounds and is more common in older rodents. Importantly, neuronal vacuolation may be a significant effect of toxicity. The vacuoles appear as variably sized, but generally large clear vacuoles in the perikaryon of the affected neurons may be accompanied by chromatolysis ( Figure 2image opens in a pop-up window , arrow). The lining of the vacuoles is composed of a single membrane, and short protrusions of this membrane occur into the vacuoles, accompanied by chromatolysis. Electron microscopic images do not clearly identify the affected swollen organelles, but smooth endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus are the most likely candidates.

In view of the known occurrence of neuronal vacuolation as an occasional incidental finding, it is important to carefully examine control and treatment groups for its presence in comparable regions. The existence of associated changes such as neuronal chromatolysis or adjacent responses by glia or satellite cells may be helpful in attributing vacuolization as a lesion.

recommendation:

When present, neuronal vacuolation is diagnosed in NTP studies, the subsite recorded, and the severity graded. In the presence of concurrent lesions, lesions with the most severity are typically diagnosed. Other concurrent lesions may be diagnosed separately, if warranted by the severity.

references:

Groves MJ, Scaravilli F. 2005. Pathology of peripheral neuron cell bodies. In: Peripheral Neuropathy, 4th ed (Dyck PJ, Thomas PK, eds). Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA, 683-732.
Abstract: http://store.elsevier.com/Peripheral-Neuropathy/P_-K_-Thomas/isbn-9780721694917/

Rogers-Cotrone T, Burgess MP, Hancock SH, Hinckley J, Lowe K, Ehrich MF, Jortner BS. 2010. Vacuolation of sensory ganglion neuron cytoplasm in rats with long-term exposure to organophosphates. Toxicol Pathol 38:554-559
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20448080