To learn more about the nerve cell body in neurotoxin-induced degeneration of axons, Sprague-Dawley rats were intoxicated with 50 mg/kg/day of the prototype neurotoxin acrylamide monomer. The lumbar dorsal root ganglia were studied in those rats with progressive disease (controls were not intoxicated). Qualitative changes in cytological organization included nuclear eccentricity. reduction in the size of Nissl bodies or displacement to a peripheral mantic, and marked enlargement of mitochondria. Quantitatively. there were statistically significant increases in these alterations. occurring early during disease and progressing over time. A stereological analysis showed a significant increase in the volume density of mitochondria, a significantdecrease in Nissl bodies, but no change in the Golgi apparatus. The data suggest that cell body alterations may represent a progressive. orderly reorganization. supporting the concept that the cell body functions in determining the fate of intoxicated neurons.