Polyneuropathy due to cobalamin deficiency in the rat

G. Tredici, F. R. Buccellato, M. Braga, G. Cavaletti, P. Ciscato, A. Moggio, G. Scalabrino

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In the present study, we investigated the peripheral nervous system (PNS) (both in terms of its ultrastructure and in terms of its function) of rats made cobalamin (Cbl)-deficient either through total gastrectomy or through prolonged feeding on a Cbl-deficient diet. In both these types of Cbl-deficient neuropathies we found: (a) ultrastructurally, intramyelin and endoneural edema, with no or minimal axonal damage in the PNS, in dorsal root ganglia, and the ventral and dorsal rootlets of the spinal cord; (b) electrophysiologically, a significant reduction in the nerve conduction velocity, consistent with that reported in (a); (c) morphometrically, a significant reduction in the density of myelinated fibers both in the sciatic nerve and in the peroneal nerve. All these pathological changes were reversed by chronic postoperative administration of Cbl into totally gastrectomized (TGX)-rats, hinting at the specificity of the damage itself in relation to the permanent Cbl-deficient status of the TGX-rats. No signs of segmental demyelination or remyelination were found. We also observed a turning of type I fibers into type II fibers in the soleus muscle of all our Cbl-deficient rats, however the Cbl deficiency had been induced. This muscular change was still present in TGX- and Cbl-treated rats, and it cannot be related to a malnutrition status, since it has been observed also in rats fed a Cbl- deficient diet. All these results demonstrate that Cbl deficiency strongly affects rat PNS within different parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 17 1998


  • Cobalamin deficiency
  • Endoneural edema
  • Intramyelin edema
  • Nerve conduction velocity
  • Peripheral neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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