The effects of A- and C-fiber stimulation on patterns of neuropeptide immunostaining in the rat superficial dorsal horn

Caroline M. Klein, Richard E. Coggeshall, Susan M. Carlton, Linda S. Sorkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The present study determines the effects of sciatic nerve stimulation at intensities that activate A-fibers alone or both A- and C-fibers on immunostaining for substance P (SP), cholecystokinin-octapeptide (CCK-8), galanin (GAL), dynorphin (DYN) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) in the superficial dorsal horn of the rat spinal cord. The goal of this study is to provide a more precise spatial localization of the sites or release or accumulation of these compounds in relation to specific types of stimuli. Following A-fiber stimulation, there was no significant change in immunostaining for any of these compounds. However, A- and C-fiber stimulation resulted in major changes. For SP, CCK-8, GAL and DYN there was a large and significant loss of immunostaining in medial regions of the dorsal horn. This is the area where sciatic nerve primary afferent fibers terminate and the depletion is probably correlated with activity in these fibers. By contrast, VIP immunostaining is increased in the lateral part of the supeficial cord, which is outside of the central sciatic afferent fiber terminations. This indicates that the increase is not in the fine sciatic sensory axons that are directly stimulated. As a final point, the fact that C-fiber but not A-fiber stimulation causes marked changes in the immunocytochemical distribution of all these compounds is further evidence, albeit indirect, that they are involved in nociceptive information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 15 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholecystokinin-octapeptide
  • Dynorphin
  • Galanin
  • Myelinated axon
  • Substance P
  • Unmyelinated axon
  • Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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