Effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on the development of Bergmann glia and astrocytes in the rat cerebellum: an immunohistochemical study. Academic Article uri icon


  • The consequences of prenatal ethanol exposure on the postnatal development of Bergmann glia and astrocytes in the rat cerebellum were investigated by using glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunolabeling. Pregnant rats were either fed with an ethanol containing liquid diet (6.7% v/v) or pair-fed with an isocaloric diet throughout gestation. On postnatal day (PD) 15 and 22, parasagittal sections of the cerebellar vermis from female offspring were processed for GFAP immunohistochemistry to assess the development of Bergmann glia and astrocytes in lobules I, VII, and X and astrocytes in the central core of white matter. On PD 15, compared to control animals, ethanol exposed animals had fewer GFAP positive Bergmann glial fibers per unit length of molecular layer; a significantly greater percentage of morphologically immature Bergmann fibers; a significantly greater GFAP positive astrocytic area per unit area of internal granular layer and central white matter; and the astrocytic processes were wider and more closely packed. These glial changes were associated with significantly thicker external granular layer in all 3 lobules. However, no significant differences were seen between the ethanol exposed and control animals on PD 22, indicating "catch-up growth" in the ethanol exposed animals during the third postnatal week. These results suggest that prenatal ethanol exposure causes (1) delayed maturation of Bergmann glia, which in turn contributes to the delayed migration of granule cells; and (2) alterations in the normal postnatal development of astrocytes.

published proceedings

  • J Comp Neurol

author list (cited authors)

  • Shetty, A. K., & Phillips, D. E

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Shetty, AK||Phillips, DE

publication date

  • July 1992