Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the postnatal morphology of the rat oculomotor nucleus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Morphological development of the rat oculomotor nucleus was investigated on postnatal day 15 following a prenatal ethanol exposure. Analysis of toluidine blue stained plastic sections showed that the prenatal alcohol exposure caused a decrease in the density of neurons and an increase in the density of astrocytes in the center of the nucleus. There was an alcohol-induced reduction in the overall size of the cross-sectional region of the oculomotor nucleus, but no effect on the number of neurons per unit area of that total oculomotor region, indicating a delay or alteration of the migration of neurons to their normal clustered position in the center of the nucleus. The areas of the neuronal cell nucleus and nucleolus were not affected by the alcohol exposure. Analysis of Golgi-Cox-impregnated multipolar neurons showed that the alcohol exposure caused a reduction in area of the cell soma; a reduction in the number of dendritic branches; and a reduction in the complexity of the dendritic arbor relative to distance from the soma, based on concentric ring analysis. The results of this study demonstrate that gestational alcohol exposure can retard the maturation of the oculomotor nucleus.

published proceedings

  • Teratology

author list (cited authors)

  • Burrows, R. C., Shetty, A. K., & Phillips, D. E

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Burrows, RC||Shetty, AK||Phillips, DE

publication date

  • May 1995