Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 7–15 | Cite as

Brain aging in normotensive and hypertensive strains of rats

II. Ultrastructural changes in neurons and glia
  • Craig A. Knox
  • Robert D. Yates
  • I-li Chen
Original Works


A variety of age-related changes occur in the structure of neurons in the cerebral cortex of Wistar-Kyoto and spontaneously hypertensive rats. The most marked alteration associated with increasing age was the deposition of lipofuscin pigment, primarily at the bases of apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons. While no strain-related differences in the amount of lipofuscin pigment were observed in the youngest (3 months) and in the aged (22–27 months) groups of rats, it appeared that hypertensive rats had larger pigment deposits at 12 months of age. At the ultrastructural level, neurons of the aged brains exhibited numerous nuclear invaginations and filamentous nuclear inclusions, increased amounts of Golgi complex and two types of cytoplasmic inclusions. The number of degenerative structures in the neuropil (membranous whorls, dystrophic axons and alterations in myelin sheaths) was also apparently increased in the aged brains. Neurofibrillary tangles were observed in dendritic processes of a 27-month-old Wistar-Kyoto rat. Glial cells accumulated distinctive pigment granules by which the three types of glia could be identified.

Key words

Aging Hypertension Neurofibrillary tangles Lipofuscin Neurons 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig A. Knox
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert D. Yates
    • 1
  • I-li Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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