Aspartate immunoreactive axons in normal rat L4 dorsal roots

Karin N. Westlund, Daniel L. McNeill, Joel T. Patterson, Richard E. Coggeshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The present study demonstrates that approximately 15% of the unmyelinated axons and 4% of the myelinated axons in the rat L4 dorsal root are immunostained for the excitatory amino acid aspartate. Thus these primary afferent axons contain enough of the antigen to be labeled. This is the first report that high concentrations of aspartate characterize a subpopulation of dorsal root axons. This allows the suggestion that aspartate is a candidate transmitter for primary afferent neurons. We emphasize that these axons are demonstrated in otherwise normal animals so that changes in percentages of labeled axons in response to various stimuli are not complicated by manipulations usually necessary to demonstrate immunoreactive compounds in the cell body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-351
Number of pages5
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 12 1989


  • Aspartate
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Primary afferent fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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