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Brain Res. 2000 Feb 7;855(1):124-31.

Responses of nitric oxide synthase expression in the gracile nucleus to sciatic nerve injury in young and aged rats.

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Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1124 W. Carson Street, RB-1, Torrance, CA 90502, USA.


Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) is induced in dorsal root ganglion neurons following axotomy in young rats, and is also increased in the gracile nucleus neurons of intact aged rats. The present study examined the influence of sciatic nerve axotomy on nNOS expression in the gracile nucleus in young compared to aged rats. The unilateral transection of the sciatic nerve was performed in young (4 months) and old (24 months) Fischer rats. Sections of rat medulla obtained 14 days after axotomy were immunolabelled using a polyclonal antibody directed against nNOS and stained by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase (NADPHd) histochemistry, a marker of nNOS activity. In young rats, unilateral axotomy produced increased NADPHd containing neurons in the rostral region and the caudal region of the ipsilateral gracile nucleus compared to the side with intact sciatic nerve. In old rats, the NADPHd containing neurons in the ipsilateral gracile nucleus were moderately increased by axotomy over the age changes seen in the contralateral side. Similar results were obtained with nNOS immunoreactivity in young rats, but more cells were seen with NADPHd staining compared to nNOS immunostaining in old rats. The results suggest that unilateral sciatic axotomy causes an increase in nNOS expression in the ipsilateral gracile nucleus of young rats, which is still seen in old rats as an increase over normal aging changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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