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Neurosci Lett. 1987 Jan 2;73(1):9-15.

Peptide expression is altered when afferent nerves reinnervate inappropriate tissue.


Neuropeptides are found in specific subpopulations of primary afferent neurones. Peptide expression can be altered following axotomy or under the influence of nerve growth factor. Here we have examined the consequence of altering the peripheral target of afferent neurones. Many unmyelinated afferents from skin contain substance P-like immunoreactivity (SPLI) whilst those from muscle do not. We have found that fibres will innervate inappropriate tissue types. We have therefore cut and cross-anastomosed a skin and muscle hindlimb nerve in the rat and 10-12 weeks later analysed the regenerated nerves immunocytochemically for SPLI. Muscle afferents inappropriately reinnervating skin were found to contain many SPLI fibres in contrast to control nerves resutured to their own distal stumps. Conversely, skin afferents made to innervate muscle showed reduced levels of peptide staining. These results demonstrate the plasticity of peptide expression and suggest that factors in peripheral tissue or perhaps distal nerve sheaths exert a trophic influence on nervous system function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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