Undernutrition and the developing cerebellar cortex in the rat

Gopinath, G. ; Bijlani, V. ; Deo, M. G. (1976) Undernutrition and the developing cerebellar cortex in the rat Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, 35 (2). pp. 125-135. ISSN 0022-3069

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Undernutrition of the newborn rats, produced during the first 3 weeks by increasing the litter size and restricting the mother's diet, resulted in reduction of the body and brain weights of the experimental animals. One group of undernourished animals showed especially severe reduction of body and cerebellar weights. These animals, on the 10th postnatal day, had an immature cerebellar cortex corresponding to that of the 7th day postnatal control animals. The external granular layer persisted in the cerebellar cortex of the underweight animals until the 23rd day, while it disappeared by 20th day in the control animals. Mitotic activity was evident until the 21st postnatal day in these animals while it stopped in the normal animal by 16th postnatal day. There was no marked difference in the fine structure of the various cell types in the control and undernourished animals. Midsagittal tracings of the cerebellar cortex showed a reduced surface area in the undernourished animals, while the thickness of the external granular layer and molecular layer did not show any significant difference when compared to that of the control animals, thus showing a reduction in total cell number, but not per unit area. The normal morphological appearance of the cerebellar cortex in the un-derfed animals of higher weight probably indicates that these animals are adequately nourished in spite of the reduction in weight when compared to the control animals, which probably are overfed.

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