Substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactivities have been shown to coexist in some, but not all, dorsal root ganglion cell bodies of the rat. Quantitative immunofluorescence techniques were used in the present study to describe densities of substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactive varicosities in several spinal cord nuclei. By combining simultaneous immunofluorescent techniques on one tissue section with computerized image processing, coexistence of substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactivity in varicosities was also quantified. By comparing spinal cord regions between normal and unilateral dorsal rhizotomy affected animals, densities of substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactive varicosities associated with primary afferent neurons were established. To determine the densities of immunoreactive varicosities that were related to unmyelinated primary afferent fibers, data were compared between normal animals and those treated neonatally with capsaicin. Four major observations were made: (1) Substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactivity coexist in populations of varicosities in sensory and autonomic regions of rat spinal segment L6. (2) Within the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn, varicosities containing both substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactivity and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactivity alone are of primary afferent neuron origin, but those containing only substance P-like immunoreactivity are most likely of spinal or descending neuronal origin. (3) Capsaicin-insensitive cholecystokinin-like immunoreactive varicosities were present predominantly in lamine I. These data suggest some cholecystokinin-like immunoreactive varicosities are associated with myelinated primary afferent neurons. (4) Primary afferent fibers containing substance P- and cholecystokinin-like immunoreactivity project to intermediate gray regions of the rat spinal cord. A large proportion of these fibers are capsaicin sensitive, suggesting that they are unmyelinated.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - 1987|