Negri bodies are discrete, intracytoplasmic,
deeply eosinophilic inclusions that measure several microns in
1) Histopathology of rabies, brain.
Characteristic Negri bodies are present within a Purkinje cell of the
cerebellum in this patient who died of rabies. CDC/Dr. Makonnen Fekadu
Negri bodies - CDC/Dr. Daniel P. Perl (wikimedia-commons)
In about 75% of cases of rabies
these can be seen on hematoxylin and eosin stained sections.
Pathology of Rabies
described by Negri in 1903,
the presence of the Negri bodies
are practically pathognomic for rabies and are an important diagnostic
They occur in neurons of the brain stem, particularly those
in the hippocampus, and in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum.
Ultrastructural studies have shown that Negri body consists
of a mass of nucleocapsids surrounded by viral particles budding from
Those bodies can be seen in axons, and it is in this way that
virus spreads from the central nervous system to many organs of the body.
Because Negri bodies are usually seen in intact neurons, they
are found away from the inflammatory, nonspecific lesions.
Rabies viral antigens can be demonstrated in infected cells
by means of fluorescent antibody technique.
Antigens can be shown to be present in cells in the absence
of Negri bodies, and hence this technique is much more sensitive than the
search of sections of brain for the pathognomonic cytoplasmic inclusions.