Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 354–361 | Cite as

Chromatolytic changes in the central nervous system of patients with the toxic oil syndrome

  • I. Tellez
  • A. Cabello
  • O. Franch
  • J. R. Ricoy
Regular Papers


Five patients died of a severe neuromyopathy months after the ingestion of adulterated rapessed oil. These patients were selected for this study due to the presence of striking chromatolytic lesions in symmetric and scattered nuclei of the brain stem, including the locus coeruleus, midline raphe, lateral reticular nuclei of the medulla and cuneate nuclei. Two of the five cases, in addition to these topographic levels of involvement, had remarkable chromatolysis, vacuolar degeneration and heavy silver impregnation of the swollen perykarya and proximal dendrites in the nuclei of the basis pontis. In this paper we analyze the features of the chromatolytic lesion and suggest that the neuronal pathology observed in these cases is an example of irreversible chromatolysis involving vacuolization and filamentous proliferation as final events of the chromatolytic process. The cause of the cell degeneration in the toxic oil syndrome (TOS) is yet undetermined. Chromatolysis in this disease may be the result of a neurotoxic action of the toxic factor in the adulterated oil.

Key words

Toxic oil syndrome Neuromyopathy Chromatolysis Neurotoxicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Tellez
    • 1
  • A. Cabello
    • 1
  • O. Franch
    • 1
  • J. R. Ricoy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology (Neuropathology) “1o de Octubre” HospitalComplutense University School of MedicineMadridSpain

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