A quantitative study of the coexistence of peptides in varicosities within the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn of the rat spinal cord

M. M. Tuchscherer, V. S. Seybold

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116 Scopus citations

Abstract

While several peptides have been shown to coexist in perikarya within dorsal root ganglia of rat, coexistence of peptides has not been confirmed in axons associated with these neurons. In this study, the coexistence of substance P (SP) with somatostatin (SOM), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), dynorphin A 1-8 (DYN), neurotensin (NT), galanin (GAL), and 5-HT in varicosities was visualized using fluorescence immunohistochemistry. Densities of immunoreactive varicosities within laminae I and II of the dorsal horn of the rat spinal cord were quantified by computer-assisted image analysis. Decreases in densities of immunoreactive varicosities as a result of multiple unilateral dorsal rhizotomies were used to determine proportions of immunoreactive varicosities associated with primary afferent neurons. Three observations were made. (1) Dorsal rhizotomy depleted greater than one-third of the varicosities individually immunoreactive for SP, SOM, GAL, or DYN, confirming the association of these peptides with primary afferent neurons. (2) SP coexisted with CGRP, GAL, and DYN in varicosities within the dorsal horn of normal animals. (3) CGRP-, SP+CGRP-, and SP+GAL-immunoreactive varicosities were nearly depleted following dorsal rhizotomy. The depletion of these peptides, particularly in combination, indicates that they may be used as markers for varicosities of some primary afferent neurons within the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn of the rat spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1989

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