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Anatomical studies of dorsal column axons and dorsal root ganglion cells after spinal cord injury in the newborn rat



Anatomical studies of dorsal column axons and dorsal root ganglion cells after spinal cord injury in the newborn rat



Journal of Comparative Neurology 293(3): 377-398



The response of dorsal column axons was studied after neonatal spinal overhemisection injury (right hemicord and left doral funiculus). Rat pups (N = 11) received this spinal lesion at the C2 level within 30 hours after birth. The cauda equina was exposed 3 months later in one group of chronic operates (N = 5) and in a group of normal adults (N = 2), and all spinal roots from L5 caudally were cut bilaterally; 4 days later the spinal cord and medulla were processed for Fink-Heimer impregnation of degenerating axons and terminals. In a second group of chronic operates (N = 6) and normal adult controls (N = 4) the left sciatic nerve was injected with a cholera toxin-HRP conjugate (C-HRP), followed by a 2-3 day transganglionic transport period, and then the spinal cord and medulla were processed with tetramethylbenzidine histochemistry. Both control groups have a consistent dense projection in topographically adjacent regions of the dorsal funiculus and gracile nucleus. However, there is no sign of axonal growth around the lesion in either group of chronic experimental operates. Instead, there is a decreased density of projection within the dorsal funiculus near the lesion site. Many remaining C-HRP labeled axons in the experimental operates have abnormal, thick varicosities and swollen axonal endings (5-10 microns x 10-30 microns) within the dorsal funiculus through several spinal segments caudal to the lesion. Ultrastructural analysis of the dorsal funiculus in three other chronic experimental operates reveals the presence of numerous vesicle filled axonal profiles and reactive endings which appear similar to the C-HRP labeled structures. Transganglionic labeling after C-HRP sciatic nerve injections (N = 4) and retrograde labeling of L4, L5 dorsal root ganglion neurons after fast blue injections of the gracile nucleus (N = 6) both suggest that all dorsal column axons project to the gracile nucleus in the newborn rat. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cell survival following the neonatal overhemisection injury was also examined in the L4 and L5 DRG. DRG neurons that project to the gracile nucleus were prelabeled by injecting fast blue into this nucleus at birth two days prior to the cervical overhemisection spinal injury. Both normal littermates (N = 9) and spinally injured animals (N = 12) were examined after postinjection survival periods of 10 or 22 days.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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Accession: 007019505

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 2324322

DOI: 10.1002/cne.902930305


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