Central changes in primary afferent fibers following peripheral nerve lesions

R. E. Coggeshall, H. A. Lekan, T. P. Doubell, A. Allchorne, C. J. Woolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Cutting or crushing rat sciatic nerve does not significantly reduce the number of central myelinated sensory axons in the dorsal roots entering the fourth and fifth lumbar segments even over very extended periods of time. Unmyelinated axons were reduced by ~50%, but only long after sciatic nerve lesions (four to eight months), and reinnervation of the peripheral target did not rescue these axons. This indicates that a peripheral nerve lesion sets up a slowly developing but major shift towards large afferent fiber domination of primary afferent input into the spinal cord. In addition, since myelinated axons are never lost, this is good evidence that the cells that give rise to these fibers are also not lost. If this is the case, this would indicate that adult primary sensory neurons with myelinated axons do not depend on peripheral target innervation for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1122
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • dorsal root axons
  • nociception
  • primary afferents
  • transection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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