Demyelinization was regularly conspicuous in the white matter of the rostral portions of the brains of 6 monkeys sacrificed 14 to 22 months after exposure of the ocular regions to 850 r.e.p. of 14 mev. neutron radiation and it was not present in the brain of a monkey 2 months after radiation under identical conditions; or in those of 5 non-radiated animals serving as controls. In early lesions, the individual myelin sheaths were varicose and fragmented, while the neurons, axons, and glial cells remained normal in appearance. With the passage of time, the degeneration of myelin became more marked and in later stages was accompanied by a degeneration of the axis cylinders, a proliferation of astrocytes and microglia, and minor cytological changes in the oligodendroglia, the whole process occurring essentially without inflammation or notable changes in the cerebral or meningeal blood vessels. The findings show that neutron radiation has the property of destroying myelin in the living animal and inducing changes that are notably similar in their pathogenesis to those that characterize disseminated encephalomyelitis in human beings.

This content is only available as a PDF.