Biologia, Bratislava 54/Suppl. 6: 73-79, 1999.

ISSN 0006-3088 (Biologia). ISSN 1335-6399 (Biologia. Section Cellular and Molecular Biology).


Full paper

Effect of N-acetylcysteine treatment on ischaemic neuronal damage in the rat trigeminal ganglion.


Anna Fercakova* & Pavol Jalc

Institute of Neurobiology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Soltesovej 6, SK-04001 Kosice, Slovakia; tel.: ++421 95 765069, fax: ++421 95 765074, e-mail:

* corresponding author

Received: January 5, 1999 / Accepted: October 5, 19999



We studied the influence of pre-and post-ischaemic treatment with a free radical scavenger, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), on trigeminal ganglia neurons in the rat after 30 min global brain ischaemia. Three experimental groups of animals a) ischaemic non-treated, b) preischaemically and c) postischaemically NAC-treated (400 mg/kg i. p.) rats were used in this study. Changes in the ganglion neurons after ischaemia with 1-3 days survival were studied by light and electron microscopy. Light microscopy in non-treated animals at 3 days post ischaemia revealed some large A-type chromatolytic neurons with dark eccentric nuclei. Small B-type neurons showed heavy vacuolation. Electron microscopy after 3 days survival revealed changes in both types of neurons, characterized by a peripheral location of endoplasmic reticulum, eccentric nuclei and segregated nucleoli. In the cytoplasm of A-type neurons, formation of peripheral vacuoles, lamellar myelinoid bodies and a higher amount of lipofuscin granules were noticed. Numerous B-cells displayed degenerative changes with an extensive mitochondrial vacuolation. Pre- and post-ischaemic NAC administration reduced the occurrence of degenerating B-cells (7.4% or 8.9 %, respectively) compared with ischaemic non-treated rats (14.5%). This protective effect of NAC application may have a value in the treatment of some cerebrovascular diseases.


Key words: global brain ischaemia, ganglion trigeminale, NAC-treatment, rat.