The present study uses a spinal cord isolation procedure to remove extrinsic axons but leave intrinsic axons intact. The isolation is done by sectioning the spinal cord in two places and then cutting all dorsal roots between the two sections. The axons that survive the isolation procedure are thought to be propriospinal axons. Following isolation, approximately one-third of the axons in sacral tracts of Lissauer in the rat survive. Thus approximately one-third of the axons in sacral tracts of Lissauer in the rat are propriospinal. Proportionately more myelinated than unmyelinated axons are lost. There are approximately equal numbers of surviving axons in the medial as opposed to the lateral part of the tract. This implies that there is, as yet, no morphological basis for dividing the tract into medial and lateral halves. The fact that the number of propriospinal axons in the tract of Lissauer has been quantitated offers more precision in our thinking about the organization of the dorsal horn.
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