Evidence that fine primary afferent axons innervate a wider territory in the superficial dorsal horn following peripheral axotomy

Adrian A. Cameron, Carolyn M. Pover, William D. Willis, Richard E. Coggeshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Peripheral axotomy initiates changes in central primary afferent receiving areas of the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Most of the presently known changes are degenerative in nature and consist of such things as cell and axon death or declines in peptides or enzymes. Other changes are regenerative in nature and because most of these occur in the superficial dorsal horn, which is where fine primary afferents end, we wished to ask whether peripheral axotomy results in a change in the distribution in these fine afferents. Using recently available markers for fine primary afferent axons and small dorsal root ganglion cells, we demonstrate that peripheral axotomy results in a considerable increase in the immunolabeled area for these compounds. Our interpretation is that there may be an extension of fine primary afferent fibers into lamina III and possibly lamina IV following peripheral axotomy. If further work bears out this conclusion, this would provide a possible explanation for the chronic pain states that sometimes follow peripheral nerve damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-154
Number of pages4
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 13 1992



  • Dorsal horn
  • Fine primary afferent fiber
  • Peripheral axotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this