Effect of Acetaldehyde on Post-natal Growth and Purkinje cell Count in Rats

Original article


Idris Barassi 1, R. N. Sreenathan 1, Saiha Zoubi1, Osama Tashani 2

1-Faculty of Medicine and 2-Faculty of Science, University of Garyounis, Benghazi, Libya

Garyounis Medical Journal Vol. 21, No.2. 2004:93-99


Background: The Acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of ethanol, was recently blamed for the teratogenic effects usually seen in Fatal Alcohol Syndrome. Objectives: To investigate the general effects of acetaldehyde injected to pregnant mothers on body development and Purkinje cells count of the cerebellum of newly born rats. Materials and Methods: 40 pregnant rats were used. With 5 controls, intraperitoneal doses of acetaldehyde were given on day 14 of the gestation period. The doses were 25 mg/kg of body weight injected into 5 mothers (group I), 50 injected into 16 mothers (group II) and 75 injected into 8 mothers (group III). Earlier, mothers subjected to 100mg/kg b.wt resulted in 64% mortality rate of pups (n=25). On day 10 Post delivery the survived pups (n=98) were sacrificed and different somatometric measurements were taken. Histological sections of the cerebellum were examined to count the number of purkinje cells. Results: In group II, the correlation between an increase in forearm, arm, leg and foot lengths and the dose of acetaldehyde were highly negative with a correlation coefficient of – 0.89, -0.84, – 0.83 and – 0.7 respectively. Weight, length and breadth of brains of treated pups were slightly higher than controls, but these changes were highly significant (P< 0.05). However, differences in Purkinje cells count were not verified statistically. Conclusions: acetaldehyde may be implicated in the general pathogenesis of FAS. But, its neurotoxicity has not been proven here. The mechanism by which ethanol reduce the size of fetal brain tissue needs further investigation. Keywords: Acetaldehyde, Teratogenicity, Neurotoxicity, Alcoholism, FAS, Purkinje Cells, Rats Link/DOI: