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J Comp Neurol. 1979 Jul 15;186(2):117-31.

Reexamination of the dorsal root projection to the spinal dorsal horn including observations on the differential termination of coarse and fine fibers.


Primary afferent fibers in the lumbar, sacral, and caudal spinal segments of several mammals (rat, cat, monkey) were stained by applying horseradish peroxidase to the proximal part of cut dorsal rootlets and reacting the tissue histochemically after several hours of survival. The stained fibers' pattern of termination in the dorsal horn was similar in all three species, with many bouton-like enlargements in the ipsilateral marginal zone, substantia gelatinosa, and nucleus proprius, as well as a few projections at each level to the dorsal commissure and contralaterally to the ventral border of the nucleus proprius. Partial lesions of dorsal rootlets in monkey revealed that the thin fibers comprising the lateral division end principally in the marginal zone and substantial gelatinosa, while the thick fibers of the medial division terminate in the nucleus proprius and deeper regions, contributing little to the substantia gelatinosa and marginal zone. On the basis of the termination patterns observed for whole and partly sectioned rootlets, the superficial dorsal horn can be divided into at least four regions. (1) The marginal zone (lamina I of cat) appears to receive terminations from intermediate (smaller myelinated) fibers; (2) the outer substantia gelatinosa (outer lamina II) receives many terminations from the very finest afferent fibers; (3) the inner substantia gelatinosa (inner lamina II) receives endings from some of the finest fibers and also from intermediate (smaller myelinated) fibers; and (4) the superficial part of the nucleus proprius (lamina III) receives endings from intermediate and large diameter dorsal root fibers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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