The cerebellum is a key regulator of coordinated sensory and musculoskeletal actions. During neurodevelopment, the cerebellum is especially susceptible to ethanol toxicity.Aim of the work
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of ethyl alcohol on the postnatal development of the cerebellar cortex and deep cerebellar nuclei.Materials and methods
Twenty pregnant rats were used in this study. They were divided into two groups. The rats in the first group were considered as controls and were kept with their pups for 3 weeks for lactation. The second group was given 10% alcohol by means of an oral tube at a dose of 2.5 gm/kg from day 11 of gestation, which was continued for 3 weeks after delivery.Materials and methods
The pups from the two groups were sacrificed at the following ages: at 1, 2, and 3 weeks and at 3 months (adult stage), with five pups being sacrificed at each age. The pups were examined by light and electron microscopy.Results
The thickness of the external granular layer and the molecular and internal granular layers decreased in the treated group compared with that of the control group at all ages. The neuronal density of Purkinje, granule, and deep cerebellar nuclei and the nuclear diameter of Purkinje cells in the treated groups were reduced compared with those in controls at all ages. The extent of Purkinje cells’ dendritic tree arborization was reduced in the treated group compared with that of the control, as seen with Golgi–Cox stain at 3 weeks postnatally and at adult stage. The ultrastructural study of Golgi and granule cells showed some degenerative changes in the form of small-sized cells and nuclei, which appeared damaged.Conclusion
The cerebellum is greatly affected by ethanol consumption by the mother and must be avoided by pregnant and lactating mothers.