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Brain Behav Evol. 2010;76(1):60-70. doi: 10.1159/000319009. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Central projections of primary sensory afferents to the spinal dorsal horn in the long-tailed stingray, Himantura fai.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic., Australia.


The central projections of primary sensory afferents innervating the caudal region of the pectoral fin of the long-tailed stingray (Himantura fai) were labeled by applying the lipophilic carbocyanine dye DiI to the dorsal roots in fixed tissue. These observations were complemented by examination of hemotoxylin and eosin-stained paraffin sections of the dorsal root entry zone, and transmission electron microscopy of the dorsal horn. Transverse sections of the sensory nerve and dorsal root revealed two distinct myelinated axon sizes in the sensory nerve. Although the thick and thin axons do not appear to group together in the sensory nerves and dorsal root, they segregate into a dorsally directed bundle of thin fibers and a more horizontally directed bundle of thick fibers soon after entering the spinal cord. In DiI-labeled horizontal sections, fibers were observed to enter the spinal cord and diverge into rostrally and caudally directed trajectories. Branching varicose axons could be traced in the dorsal horn gray matter in the segment of entry and about half of the adjacent rostral and caudal segments. In transverse and sagittal sections, DiI-labeled afferents were seen to innervate the superficial and, to a lesser extent, deeper laminae of the dorsal horn, but not the ventral horn. Electron microscopy of unlabeled dorsal horn sections revealed a variety of synaptic morphologies including large presynaptic elements (some containing dense-core vesicles) making synaptic contacts with multiple processes in a glomerular arrangement; in this respect, the synaptic ultrastructure is broadly similar to that seen in the dorsal horn of rodents and other mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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