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An electron microscopic study of chlordecone (Kepone) induced peripheral nerve damage in adult mice



An electron microscopic study of chlordecone (Kepone) induced peripheral nerve damage in adult mice



Neurotoxicology 3(2): 155-161



Chlordecone (CD, Kepone) is a chlorinated polycyclic insecticide that was used in the past to control agricultural pests in the southeastern USA. Its acute toxicity and the fact that it produces neurological symptoms such as hyperexcitability, tremors and gait disturbances have been well documented. This study was designed to examine by ultrastructural means the morphological changes in the peripheral nerves of adult mice after exposure to less than lethal doses of CD. Mature Balb/c mice were given 8 consecutive daily injections of CD. Injections were given i.p. in sesame oil at 17.5 mg/kg average initial body wt. Controls were given the same i.p. volume of sesame oil without CD. Tremors and gait problems were apparent in exposed animals by day 4, increased in severity until day 8, then decreased in severity until they were gone by day 13. On day 8 and 15 after the start of the experiment (1 and 8 days after the last injection) the animals were sacrificed by glutaraldehyde perfusion and sciatic nerve tissues were prepared for EM study. In sciatic nerve, the large myelinated axons, their myelin and associated Schwann cells were similar to controls and normal nerve. Unmyelinated axonal bundles showed varying degrees of damage. Vesiculation of Schwann cell cytoplasm was common, varying from scattered vesicles between axons to almost total involvement of the cytoplasm. Many unmyelinated axons were swollen and the microtubules underwent dissolution and replacement by filamentous material. Some mitochondria contained angular, dense paracrystalline structures. Subacute doses of chlordecone produced distinct morphological changes in unmyelinated fiber bundles without obvious damage to myelinated nerve fibers. The morphological changes were discussed relative to morphological studies in other tissues and to biochemical studies in nerve tissue.

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Accession: 004721937

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PMID: 6186961


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