Relationship of NK3 receptor-immunoreactivity to subpopulations of neurons in rat spinal cord

V. S. Seybold, I. Grkovic, A. L. Portbury, Y. Q. Ding, R. Shigemoto, N. Mizuno, J. B. Furness, B. R. Southwell

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The distribution of immunoreactivity to the neurokinin3 receptor (NK3R) was examined in segments C7, T11-12, L1-2, and L4-6 of the rat spinal cord. NK3R immunoreactivity was visualized by using two antisera generated against sequences of amino acids contained in the C-terminal region of the NK3R. NK3R-immunoreactive cells were numerous in the substantia gelatinosa of all spinal segments examined as well as the dorsal commissural nucleus of spinal segments L1-2. Isolated, immunoreactive cells were scattered throughout other regions of the spinal cord. The relationship of NK3R-immunoreactivity with neurons was demonstrated by colocalization with microtubule associated protein 2-immunoreactivity in individual cells. Within neurons, NK3R- immunoreactivity was associated predominately with the plasma membrane of cell bodies and dendrites. Within the substantia gelatinosa, 86% of nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-immunoreactive neurons were also NK3R-immunoreactive. Although NOS-immunoreactive neurons were found throughout all other regions of the spinal cord in the segments examined, these were not NK3R- immunoreactive. When preganglionic sympathetic neurons in spinal segments T11-12 and L1-2 were visualized by intraperitoneal injection of Fluorogold, less than 1% of the Fluorogold-labeled neurons were also immunoreactive for NK3R. The large number of NK3R-immunoreactive neurons in the substantia gelatinosa suggests that some effects of tachykinins an somatosensation may be mediated by NK3R.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 1997


  • autonomic nervous system
  • neurokinin B
  • nitric oxide
  • sensory nervous system
  • tachykinin


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