Alcohol-Induced Brain Changes in Dogs

Lawrence A. Hansen, Benjamin H. Natelson, Cynthia Lemere, Wendell Niemann, Richard Teresa, Timothy J. Regan, Eliezer Masliah, Robert D. Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We studied the neuropathologic effects of chronic alcohol ingestion on the brains of healthy, well-nourished, male mongrel dogs. Five experimental dogs were provided 36% of their calories as ethyl alcohol for 1 year. Following killing, their brains were weighed, photographed, sectioned, and processed for computerized morphometric determinations of ventricular size, cortical thickness, and neocortical neuron and glial cell populations. Compared with a similarly handled control group, the alcoholic dog brains showed lateral ventricular enlargement, cortical thinning in the temporal lobe only, and fewer glial cells in the temporal and frontal cortices. There were no statistically significant differences between the alcoholic and control groups in brain weight, frontal or parietal cortical thickness, or neocortical neuron populations. These results imply a disproportionate vulnerability of white matter to the damaging effects of alcohol with consequent lateral ventricular enlargement, and some regional variation in neocortical susceptibility to alcohol-induced cortical thinning and glial cell loss. In general, such changes are consistent with those described in neuroradiologic imaging studies of human alcoholics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-942
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes


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