Do neuropeptides in the dorsal horn change if the dorsal root ganglion cell death that normally accompanies peripheral nerve transection is prevented?

Caroline M. Klein, Oscar Guillamondegui, Caryn D. Krenek, Russell Laforte, Richard E. Coggeshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Peripheral nerve section causes the death of dorsal root ganglion cells and changes in neuroactive peptides in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. The relationship between these 2 events has not been previously studied, however. One approach would be to prevent sensory cell death and then determine changes in peptide immunoreactivity. To do this, transected rat sciatic nerve stumps were placed in an impermeable silicone tube for one month. The tube was then removed and after 30 additional days the cells were counted. The data indicate that no cell death occurred. We conclude that the sensory cells are first saved due to some factor present in the tube, and then after 30 days, the cells become independent of the tube and its contents. In these same animals, all of the peptides we examined were significantly changed. Four of the peptides, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), substance P (SP), cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK) and galanin (GAL) were significantly depleted in the medial L4-L5 superficial dorsal horn, and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) was significantly increased. We conclude that there are major changes in spinal peptide systems following peripheral nerve transection even if there is no accompanying death of sensory neurons. Thus we suggest that dramatic central changes in peptide immunoreactivity following peripheral nerve transection are independent of the sensory cell death that usually occurs in response to this injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 28 1991



  • Dorsal horn
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Peptide immunoreactivity
  • Peripheral nerve section

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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