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Neuroscience. 1985 Oct;16(2):375-94.

Light and electron microscopy of contacts between primary afferent fibres and neurones with axons ascending the dorsal columns of the feline spinal cord.

Abstract

In addition to primary afferent fibres, the dorsal columns of the cat spinal cord contain ascending second-order axons which project to the dorsal column nuclei. The aim of the present study was to obtain morphological evidence that certain primary afferent axons form monosynaptic contacts with cells of origin of this postsynaptic dorsal column pathway. In ten adult cats, neurones with axons ascending the dorsal columns were retrogradely labelled with horseradish peroxidase using a pellet implantation method in the thoracic dorsal columns. In the lumbosacral regions of the same animals, primary afferent fibres were labelled intra-axonally with ionophoretic application of horseradish peroxidase. Tissue containing labelled axons was prepared for light and combined light and electron microscopy. Ultrastructural examination demonstrated that slowly adapting (Type I), hair follicle, Pacinian corpuscle and group Ia muscle spindle afferents formed monosynaptic contacts with labelled cells and light microscopical analysis suggested that they also received monosynaptic input from rapidly adapting (Krause) afferents. This evidence suggests that sensory information from large-diameter cutaneous and muscle spindle afferent fibres is conveyed disynaptically via the postsynaptic dorsal column pathway to the dorsal column nuclei. Some of the input to this pathway is probably modified in the spinal cord as the majority of primary afferent boutons forming monosynaptic contacts were postsynaptic to other axon terminals. The postsynaptic dorsal column system appears to constitute a major somatosensory pathway in the cat.

PMID:
4080161
DOI:
10.1016/0306-4522(85)90010-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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