Collateral reinnervation of sweat glands

William R. Kennedy, Manabu Sakuta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The collateral reinnervation of mouse sweat glands has been studied by a method that allows serial evaluation of the course of reinnervation in intact animals. The method is based on the finding that the activation of secretion from newly denervated sweat glands by pilocarpine or nerve stimulation is completely absent seven days after nerve section but returns with reinnervation. These characteristics allowed serial detection of footpad sweat glands newly reinnervated by collateral sprouting of the remaining intact saphenous nerve after section of the sciatic nerve. The number of saphenous innervated glands increased five‐to sevenfold and the total saphenous sweat territory was greatly expanded across the volar surface of the hind paw. There was less enlargement when the sciatic nerve was allowed to regenerate and participate in reinnervation of sweat glands. None of the reinnervated glands were dually innervated by saphenous and sciatic nerves, as is the case in normal glands. When the saphenous nerve was sectioned after saphenous collateral sprouting was complete and after sciatic regeneration had innervated an apparent maximal number of glands, the sciatic nerve reacted by advancing farther into the formerly enlarged saphenous territory and re‐reinnervated many of the glands. Collateral sprouting by sudomotor axons is more abundant and more widely dispersed than reported for larger nerve fibers to skeletal muscle and to low‐threshold mechanoreceptors, It more closely resembles sprouting of nociceptive axons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984


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