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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Intrinsic innervation of the rat knee joint articular capsule and ligaments.

In spite of the practical importance of having a detailed knowledge of knee joint innervation to understand the pathophysiologic aspects, little information is now available concerning the density and pattern of the nerve fibres which are distributed to it. The present study has been designed to investigate the density and distribution of nerve fibres and receptor corpuscles in the knee joint articular capsule, cruciate and collateral ligaments in the rat, using the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) histochemical in toto staining technique. The investigation was performed on male Wistar rats of 3 months of age, some of which had been treated with capsaicin to deplete their afferent 'C' fibres of their content of neuropeptides. AChE-positive nerve fibres and different types of receptor corpuscle endings were found within articular capsule and ligaments. The highest density of AChE-positive nerve fibres was noticeable in the fibular collateral ligament followed by the tibial collateral ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, the anterior cruciate ligament and the articular capsule. In the articular capsule the number of type I endings was higher than in the ligaments. The opposite is true for the other type of receptor corpuscles found as well as for nerve endings. Capsaicin treatment significantly reduced the density of AChE-positive nerve fibres in knee joint ligaments but did not affect nerve fibres in the articular capsule. Moreover, it caused the disappearance of some kind of receptor corpuscles within the collateral and cruciate ligaments. The above data collectively suggest that the AChE in toto staining technique may represent a good method for investigating joint innervation and that a significant percentage of nerve fibres supplying knee joint ligaments is represented by C fibre afferents.[1]


  1. Intrinsic innervation of the rat knee joint articular capsule and ligaments. Marinozzi, G., Ferrante, F., Gaudio, E., Ricci, A., Amenta, F. Acta anatomica. (1991) [Pubmed]
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