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Brain Res. 1989 Jan 16;477(1-2):344-9.

Arborization of single axons of the spinal dorsolateral funiculus to the contralateral superficial dorsal horn.

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Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


This study provides an anatomical basis for the observation that a unilateral lesion of the spinal dorsolateral funiculus (DLF) can reduce the inhibitory effect of electrical stimulation of the nucleus raphe magnus (NRM) on dorsal horn nociceptive neurons located caudal and contralateral to the lesion. We injected the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L) into the NRM and traced the arborization of single DLF axons in the spinal gray matter. Although the majority of DLF axons arborized in the dorsal horn ipsilaterally, we found some axons which entered the spinal gray matter, traversed the gray matter to the central canal and then abruptly changed direction and coursed to the contralateral superficial dorsal horn. Very few branches were given off en route. These data indicate that some raphe-spinal axons may selectively influence the firing of neurons of the superficial dorsal horn, contralateral to the DLF in which they descend the spinal cord.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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