A line of Berlin Druckrey IV rats proposed as a new model for human hereditary ataxia. Academic Article uri icon


  • An experimental colony of Berlin Druckrey IV (BD IV) rats with inherited, congenital, gradually progressive incoordination and rear limb ataxia was evaluated for clinical signs, gross and microscopic nervous system lesions, and mode of inheritance of the gene defect. Clinical evaluation suggested a lesion in the midbrain or brainstem, with resulting lower motor neuron functional impairment. Gross alterations in affected rats were atrophy of thigh musculature by six months of age and thoracic kyphoscoliosis. Histological evaluation of the nervous system revealed central chromatolysis of neurons within the red nuclei in 20 out of 24 affected rats. Additionally, in six out of 24 affected rats chromatolytic neural cell bodies of this nucleus contained brightly eosinophilic, coarsely granular, cytoplasmic deposits. Special stains (osmium tetroxide, Kinyoun's acid-fast and periodic acid-Schiff) indicated these deposits consisted of lipopolysaccharide. Additional lesions in ataxic rats included qualitative reduction in neuronal cell bodies of the inferior olivary nucleus (10 out of 26 rats) and cerebellar Purkinje cells (5 out of 27 rats). No reduction in the number of spinal cord lower motor neurons was detected. Analysis of intercross pedigrees that were established between ataxic BD IV females and either normal Long Evans or Fisher males indicated a likely autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. The authors propose that this disease accompanying a new variant of the BD IV rat (to be designated "shaker" rat) provides a new and unique research model for ataxia with features in common with some human hereditary ataxias.

published proceedings

  • In Vivo

author list (cited authors)

  • Guyer, C. L., Stoica, G., Womack, J. E., Storts, R. W., Derr, J. N., & Abbott, L. C.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Guyer, Cheryl L||Stoica, George||Womack, James E||Storts, Ralph W||Derr, James N||Abbott, Louise C

publication date

  • August 2002