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

Cells in laminae III and IV of the rat spinal cord that possess the neurokinin-1 receptor and have dorsally directed dendrites receive a major synaptic input from tachykinin-containing primary afferents.

Many neurons with cell bodies in laminae III or IV of the spinal dorsal horn possess the neurokinin 1 receptor and have dorsal dendrites that arborize in the superficial dorsal horn. We have performed a confocal microscopic study to determine whether these cells receive inputs from substance P-containing primary afferents. All neurons of this type received contacts from substance P-immunoreactive axons, and in most cases the contacts onto dorsal dendrites were very numerous. A great majority (90-100%) of substance P-immunoreactive varicosities in contact with these cells were also immunoreactive with antibody to calcitonin gene-related peptide, indicating that they were of primary afferent origin. The density of contacts from substance P-immunoreactive varicosities onto these cells was significantly higher than that seen on cholinergic neurons in lamina III (which do not possess the receptor). Electron microscopy revealed that synapses were present at points of contact between substance P-immunoreactive boutons and dorsal dendrites of cells with the neurokinin 1 receptor. Some cells of this type belong to the spinothalamic tract, and we therefore examined neurons with cell bodies in laminae III or IV that possessed the neurokinin 1 receptor and were labeled retrogradely after thalamic injection of cholera toxin B subunit. These cells also received contacts from substance P-immunoreactive axons on their dorsal dendrites. The results of this study indicate that neurons of this type are a major target for substance P-containing primary afferents.[1]


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