Time course of degenerative and regenerative changes in the dorsal horn in a rat model of peripheral neuropathy

A. A. Cameron, K. D. Cliffer, P. M. Dougherty, C. J. Garrison, W. D. Willis, S. M. Carlton

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    67 Scopus citations


    The time course of histochemical changes in the dorsal horn of rats subjected to an experimental peripheral neuropathy has been examined. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the changes in dorsal horn staining were made for soybean agglutinin (SBA)-binding glycoconjugates, the soluble lectins RL-14.5 and RL-29, the growth-associated protein (GAP)-43, and the neuropeptides substance P (SP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). These analyses were made at various time points after chronic constriction of the sciatic nerve. Quantitative analysis indicated that staining density increased in the normal territories stained for SBA-binding glycoconjugates, RL-14.5, RL-29, and GAP-43 on the neuropathic side compared with the control side. In addition, there was an extension of the territories stained for SBA- binding glycoconjugates and RL-29 ipsilateral to the injury. The peak increases occurred at 14 or 28 days, followed by a decrease toward control levels by 70 days. In contrast, the staining density for SP in the ipsilateral dorsal horn decreased at 3 and 5 days and reached a peak decrease at 14 days. Then, the staining for SP returned toward control values. The staining for CGRP was unchanged at all time points examined. Dorsal rhizotomies ipsilateral to the nerve injury in neuropathic rats indicated that the increases in staining were attributable to changes in primary afferent neurons. These data suggest that peripheral neuropathy causes complex degenerative and regenerative changes in the central branches of primary afferent neurons. The associated synaptic reorganization may contribute to the sensory abnormalities that accompany peripheral neuropathy.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)428-442
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 17 1997


    • galectin
    • growth-associated protein 43
    • pain
    • sprouting
    • substance P

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Neuroscience


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