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Brain Res. 1985 Sep;357(1):27-46.

The reaction of primary sensory neurons to peripheral nerve injury with particular emphasis on transganglionic changes.


This paper reviews light- and electron microscopic, histochemical and physiological evidence which demonstrate that peripheral nerve injury in mammals is followed by profound structural and functional changes in the central terminals of the affected primary sensory neurons. Available evidence indicates that at least some of these so-called transganglionic changes are the result of ganglion cell degeneration and death, although other mechanisms are probably in effect as well. Existing data suggest that this ganglion cell death does not effect all types of ganglion cells equally, but do not permit a clearcut answer to the question of which kinds of ganglion cells are affected more than others. Results from studies with microtubule inhibitors and antibodies to nerve growth factor are compatible with the notion that depletion of retrogradely transported trophic factors is involved in the production of certain transganglionic changes. This issue needs further examination, however. Physiological studies indicate marked alterations in certain primary afferent synaptic connections after peripheral nerve lesions. So far, these changes have not been satisfactorily correlated with the structural changes induced by similar lesions. Further studies on the structural and functional response of primary sensory neurons to peripheral nerve injury are likely to contribute to the understanding of the frequent failure to regain normal sensory functions after peripheral nerve lesions in man, as well as of the basic aspects of lesion-induced changes in general in the peripheral and central nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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