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Neurotoxicology. 2001 Feb;22(1):73-7.

Effects of senescence and citral on neuronal vacuolar degeneration in rat pelvic ganglia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Sackler Medical School, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel.


A significant part of the morbidity in elderly men involves pelvic organs and their autonomic neural regulation. Environmental stimuli also impair the structure and function of pelvic organs. One of these factors is citral, a widely-used cosmetic fragrance constituent, which causes severe prostatic hyperplasia in rats. In this study, we assessed the effect of topical administration of citral (30 days) on the morphology of pelvic ganglia (PG) in young adult and old Wistar rats. Neuronal vacuolar degeneration with preserved nuclei of PG neurons was observed in untreated senescent, but not young rats. Citral significantly increased the rate of vacuolated neurons in old rats (from 3 to 14%), but only slightly in young ones (from 0 to 0.5-0.3%). Similar lesions were not found in inferior cervical or celiac ganglia, in either group. This shows that environmental stimuli enhance age-related processes of vacuolar neuronal degeneration in PG, and may contribute to the dysfunction of pelvic organs in the elderly.

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