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IB. Neurons - pathological changes

Neurons - Pathological reactions (cont)

3. Basic histopathologic reactions to injury

a. Acute neuronal injury / ischemic cell change (eosinophilic/red neurons): Neurons are quickly injured by hypoxia (decreased oxygen supply) or ischemia (regional absence of blood supply).  After 6-12 hours morphological changes include acute shrinkage, angularity, and homogeneous eosinophilia of the cytoplasm. The nucleus becomes shriveled, pyknotic and hyperchromatic.  These changes are part of the process of cell death. Affected cells are called ischemic neurons or red neurons or eosinophilic neurons.

b. “Simple” neuronal atrophy (neuronal degeneration or chronic cell change): There may be neuronal death resulting from a progressive disease process, with cell loss as a characteristic histologic feature.


This H&E-stained microscopic image illustrates ischemic neurons.
Click here to enlarge