Synonyms and Related Terms: Thiamine deficiency; Wernicke encephalopathy (cerebral beriberi). Possible Associated Conditions: Chronic alcoholism; chronic peritoneal dialysis; hemodialysis; Wernicke disease; Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.*

Organs and Tissues


Possible or Expected Findings

External examination and oral cavity


Brain and spinal cord with dorsal-root ganglia

Cerebral, spinal, and peripheral nerves

Record weight and submit samples for histologic study (p. 30). For removal and specimen preparation, see pp. 65, 67, and 69, respectively. Request Luxol fast blue and Bielschowsky stains (p. 172).

For sampling and specimen preparation of peripheral nerves, see p. 79.

Evidence of malnutrition;* edema. Glossitis.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy;* cardiac hypertrophy.*

For cerebral changes, see "Syndrome, Wernicke-Korsakoff."

Axonal degeneration with relative sparing of small myelinated and unmyelinated fibers. Proximal segmental demyelination is considered a secondary phenomenon (1). Degeneration may also occur in terminal branches of vagus and phrenic nerves.


1. Windebank AJ. Polyneuropathy due to nutritional deficiency and alcoholism. In: Peripheral Neuropathy, vol. 2. Dyck PJ, Thomas PK, eds., W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 1993, pp. 1310-1321.


NOTE: Close similarities exist between berylliosis and sarcoidosis (1)*.

Organs and Tissues


Possible or Expected Findings


Prepare sections from various sites.



For removal and specimen preparation,

Increased calcium concentration (associated

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