The events which occur in the death of visceromotor neurons of the cervical region of the chick embryo's spinal cord have been analyzed by electron microscopy. These normal degenerative events are compared with those in the lumbosacral cord where nerve cell death was induced by removal of peripheral organs. The initial set of degenerative changes include a decrease in nuclear size, the clumping of chromatin beneath the nuclear envelope, an increase in electron opacity of the cells, the disappearance of Golgi bodies, and the disaggregation of polysomes. These events are followed by the loss of the nuclear envelope and most of the endoplasmic reticulum, the appearance of bundles of filaments, and the formation of many ribosome crystals. Ribosome crystals are seen only in the dying cells. Their abundance may indicate a drastic reduction in RNA synthesis as one of the initial events which lead to the death of these neurons. The neurons are finally subdivided and engulfed by cells of the normal glial population, and further breakdown of the cell fragments occurs in large phagocytic vesicles of the gliocytes.

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