Morphological changes in cerebellar neurons during the immune reaction to a viral infection were examined using Golgi methods. Wistar albino rats, infected at 4 days of age with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, were killed on postinfection days 4 to 10, and the cerebella were processed by rapid Golgi and Golgi-Cox methods. Some of the sections impregnated by the rapid Golgi method were subsequently processed for electron microscopy. Necrosis was evident in the lingula and portions of the posterior vermis by postinjection day 7. By the 9th day, degeneration was observed throughout the vermis. Purkinje cells appeared normal 4 days after infection, but by days 9 and 10, all the impregnated Purkinje cells had atrophic cell bodies; stunted, agglomerate dendrites; and dilated axons with collaterals that had many short processes. Some cells in the infected tissue did not resemble any normal cell type. These data indicate that the value of the Golgi method is a useful complement to conventional techniques for examining the neuropathological response to viral infections. In fact, it provides neuropathological information that is difficult or impossible to obtain with other procedures.
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