Delayed loss of small dorsal root ganglion cells after transection of the rat sciatic nerve

Trine Tandrup, Clifford J. Woolf, Richard E. Coggeshall

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195 Scopus citations


The present study deals with changes in numbers and sizes of primary afferent neurons (dorsal root ganglion [DRG] cells) after sciatic nerve transection. We find that this lesion in adult rats leads to death of some DRG cells by 8 weeks and 37% by 32 weeks after the lesion. The loss of cells appears earlier in and is more severe in B-cells (small, dark cells with unmyelinated axons) than A-cells (large, light cells with myelinated axons). With regard to mean cell volumes, there is a tendency for both categories of DRG cells to be smaller, but except for isolated time points, these differences are not statistically significant. These findings differ from most earlier reports in that the cell loss takes place later than usually reported, that the loss is more severe for B-cells, and that neither A- or B- cells change size significantly. Accordingly, we conclude that sciatic nerve transection in adult rats leads to a slowly developing but relatively profound loss of primary afferent neurons that is more severe for B-cells. These results can serve as a basis for studies to determine the effectiveness of trophic or survival factors in avoiding axotomy induced cell death. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 26 2000


  • Primary afferent neurons
  • Sciatic nerve lesion
  • Stereology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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