Calcitonin gene‐related peptide immunostained axons provide evidence for fine primary afferent fibers in the dorsal and dorsolateral funiculi of the rat spinal cord

D. L. McNeill, K. Chung, S. M. Carlton, R. E. Coggeshall

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The hypothesis being tested in the present paper is that there are large numbers of fine primary afferent axons in the dorsal and dorsolateral funiculi of the lumbar spinal cord of the rat. The data show numerous calcitonin gene‐related peptide labeled fine myelinated and unmyelinated axons in these funiculi. Approximately 95% of the labeled axons disappear after dorsal rhizotomy. Accordingly, the hypothesis is confirmed. Thus it is becoming apparent that fine primary afferent fibers are more widely distributed in spinal white matter than had been previously recognized. Implications are that it is not possible to find areas in the spinal white matter that contain only large myelinated sensory axons and that significant numbers of fine primary afferent fibers will be lost even if lesions are restricted to the dorsal funiculus. The sizable population of fine myelinated primary afferent axons in the dorsal funiculus is emphasized. An obvious question, suggested by significant differences in average diameters of the axons in the different pathways, is whether there are differences in the types of information carried by the fine afferent fibers in their different locations in the white matter of the lumbar cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 8 1988



  • CGRP immunostaining
  • sensory axons
  • white matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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