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Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 0004-282X

Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. vol.55 no.4 São Paulo  1997 

Ultrastructure of cranial nerves of rats inoculated with rabies virus


Ultraestrutura de nervos cranianos de ratos inoculados com o vírus da raiva



Guilberto MinguettiI; Robin M. HofmeisterII; Yasuyoshi HayashiIII; Juan A. MontañoIII

INeurologic Clinic of the Federal University of Paraná: Adjunct Professor, Neurology, Department of Internal Medicine, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil
IINeurologic Clinic of the Federal University of Paraná: Electron Microscopy Center of the Federal University of Paraná. Brazil
IIINeurologic Clinic of the Federal University of Paraná: lnstitute of Technology of the Paraná State, Brazil




The V and VII cranial nerves of rats inoculated with rabies virus were studied by electron microscopy. The results were compared with the same cranial nerves of rats inoculated with rabies virus but vaccinated against the disease. The findings are those of axonal degeneration and intense demyelination of the nerves of the group of rats not vaccinated. The vaccinated rats showed some ultrastructural irrelevant alterations when compared with the other group. The degree of ultrastructural alterations found in the group of rats not vaccinated suggests that in rabies severe damage of the cranial nerves occurs and that this may be closely related to the clinical picture of the disease (hydrophobia). Furthermore, as far as the authors know, this has not been considered in the classic descriptions of rabies and it is possible that an immunologic process may take part in the demyelination observed in the present study.

Key-words: rabies, cranial nerves, electron microscopy.


Os autores estudaram o quinto e o sétimo nervos cranianos de ratos inoculados com o vírus da raiva. Os resultados foram comparados com os mesmos nervos cranianos de ratos inoculados com o vírus da raiva, porém vacinados contra a doença. Os achados no grupo não vacinado foram de degeneração axonal e intensa desmielinização dos nervos examinados. No grupo vacinado foram encontrados apenas discretas alterações da mielina, sem relevância do ponto de vista patológico. As grandes alterações ultraestruturais encontradas no grupo de ratos não vacinados sugerem que na raiva ocorram acentuadas alterações nos nervos cranianos e que tais alterações devem estar intimamente relacionadas ao quadro clínico da doença (hidrofobia). Além disso, é possível que tais alterações estejam associadas a um processo imunológico responsável também por acometimento sistêmico dos nervos periféricos.

Palavras-chave: raiva, nervos cranianos, microscopia eletrônica.



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Aceite: 4-agosto-1997.



Dr. G. Minguetti - Department of Internal Medicine, Federal University of Paraná, University Hospital - Rua General Carneiro 180 - 80060-900 Curitiba PR - Brasil.

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