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Brain Res. 1997 Mar 28;752(1-2):161-9.

Regeneration of periodontal primary afferents of the rat incisor following injury of the inferior alveolar nerve with special reference to neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactive primary afferents.

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  • 1Department of Orthodontics, Osaka University Faculty of Dentistry, Japan.


Regeneration of primary afferents and the expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the lingual periodontal ligament of the rat incisor were examined following different types of injury (resection or crush) of the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) combined with superior cervical ganglionectomy. In normal animals, protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5)-like immunoreactivity (-LI) was localized in the middle areas of the alveolus-related part of lingual periodontal ligament; some of these nerve fibers showed terminal ramification and morphologies resembling those of the periodontal Ruffini endings, and very few thin varicose NPY-like immunoreactive (-IR) nerve fibers were detected around the blood vessels. Three days following crush injury of the IAN, the number of PGP 9.5-IR nerve fibers decreased, then increased to the normal levels around 10-15 days following injury. NPY-IR primary afferents first appeared around 5 days following crush injury, increased in number gradually, reaching a peak around 14 days, and then decreased. No NPY-IR primary afferents were detected 56 days following crush injury of the IAN. The terminal morphology of NPY-IR primary afferents observed around 10-14 days following injury was similar to that of PGP 9.5-IR nerve fibers in the normal animals, but less expanded. The changes in distribution of PGP 9.5-IR and NPY-IR nerve fibers following resection were similar to those observed following crush injury but regeneration was slightly delayed. The present results suggest that injury-evoked NPY is closely associated with the regeneration process of mechanoreceptors in the periodontal ligament following injury of the IAN.

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