Acid phosphatase as a selective marker for a class of small sensory ganglion cells in several mammals: spinal cord distribution, histochemical properties, and relation to fluoride-resistant acid phosphatase (FRAP) of rodents

Silverman, J.D.; Kruger, L.

Somatosensory Research 5(3): 219-246


ISSN/ISBN: 0736-7244
PMID: 3128853
Accession: 004656382

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Fluoride-resistant acid phosphatase (FRAP) activity as characterized in rat and mouse was studied in sensory ganglion and spinal cord of several mammals, using both the Gomori lead-ion capture and azo-dye coupling methods. FRAP was specifically localized to small- and medium-diameter primary afferent neurons and inner substantia gelatinosa of all nonrodent animals studied, including rabbit, cat, dog, monkey, cow, and human. In rabbit, sciatic nerve transection resulted in depletion of enzymatic activity in ipsilateral spinal cord dorsal horn in a pattern corresponding to the distribution of central terminals of the nerve. Further analysis of the substrate specificity and pH dependence of FRAP was carried out primarily in rat sensory ganglion and spinal cord; the enzyme was found to hydrolyze a wide variety of phosphomonoesters in a relatively nonselective manner at both pH 5 and pH 7, including 5'-nucleotides, phosphorylated amino acids, and several exogenous compounds. The visualization of FRAP-like activity in several nonrodent species is discussed with reference to previous work indicating its presence only in mouse and rat. Technical factors are considered that limit the applicability of the lead-ion histochemical method in demonstration of FRAP and in efforts at functional characterization of the enzyme, especially in light of its ability to hydrolyze a broad spectrum of substrates over a wide pH range. Alternative interpretations of the expression of acid phosphatase activity in a select class of small sensory ganglion cells are suggested, including several possible non-synaptic roles of FRAP in the peripheral nervous system.