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J Comp Neurol. 2007 Feb 20;500(6):1106-16.

Phylogenetic preservation of alpha3 Na+,K+-ATPase distribution in vertebrate peripheral nervous systems.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.


The alpha(3) isoform of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase is uniquely expressed in afferent and efferent neurons innervating muscle spindles in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) of adult rats, but the distribution pattern of this isoform in other species has not been investigated. We compared expression of alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase in lumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG), spinal roots, and skeletal muscle samples of amphibian (frog), reptilian (turtle), avian (pigeon and chicken), and mammalian (mouse and human) species. In all species studied, the alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase isoform was nonuniformly expressed in peripheral ganglia and nerves. In spinal ganglia, only 5-20% of neurons expressed this isoform, and, in avian and mammalian species, these alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase-expressing neurons belonged to a subpopulation of large DRG neurons. In ventral root fibers of pigeons, mice, and humans, the alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase was abundantly expressed predominantly in small myelinated axons. In skeletal muscle samples from turtles, pigeons, mice, and humans, alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase was detected in intramuscular myelinated axons and in profiles of nerve terminals associated with the equatorial and polar regions of muscle spindle intrafusal fibers. These results show that the expression profiles for alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase in the peripheral nervous system of a wide variety of vertebrate species are similar to the profile of rats and suggest that stretch receptor-associated expression of alpha(3) Na(+),K(+)-ATPase is preserved through vertebrate evolution.

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