A Histological Assessment of the Cell Death Induced by Haloperidol on Prefrontal Cortex

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Ali Ghanbari; Seyran Kakebaraei & Mozafar Khazaei


Neuroleptic drugs such as haloperidol has side effects on extrapyramidal pathways. Tardive Dyskinesia is the most important complication. The most characteristic feature of this Tardive Dyskinesia is involuntary movements of mouth and face. In regard to this problem, the induction of gliosis and cell death in the nervous tissue are considered. In this study, adult Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental models. Rats were divided into control and experimental groups. The rats were kept in the animal house under standard conditions during experiments. The control rats were intraperitoneally treated with normal saline for 6 days. The experimental samples were treated for the same time with 2, 5 and 10 mg haloperidol. After the trial period, the rats were killed following general anesthesia and their brains were removed after perfusion with a 4% formalin solution. Then, 1 mm cuts of the brains were obtained. After that, 5 μm tissue sections were prepared and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. The stained sections were examined by optical microscopy. The results showed that the short-term use of haloperidol does not lead to gliosis process in the rat cerebral cortex. The short-term use of 10 mg haloperidol results in cell death in the rat cerebral cortex. Cell death was not observed in the control group and the groups that had received 2 mg and 5 mg doses of haloperidol. According to previous studies, it can be concluded that the gliosis process is induced in the cerebral cortex only following the long-term use of haloperidol. It is considered as a secondary cause of the neuroleptic drugs side effects. The primary cause of these side effects is the induction of cell death in neurons.

KEY WORDS: Haloperidol; Cerebral cortex; Optical microscopy; Cell death; Rat.

How to cite this article

KAKEBARAEI, S.; KHAZAEI, M. & GHANBARI, A. A histological assessment of the cell death induced by haloperidol on prefrontal cortex. Int. J. Morphol., 31(4):1439-1443, 2013.