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J Neurophysiol. 1996 Jul;76(1):242-54.

Intraaxonal injection of neurobiotin reveals the long-ranging projections of A beta-hair follicle afferent fibers to the cat dorsal horn.

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Department of Anatomical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia.


1. The morphology and somatotopic organization of the spinal arborizations of identified A beta-hair follicle afferent fibers (HFAs) with receptive fields (RFs) on the digits have been investigated in the cat by the use of intraaxonal injection of the tracer n-(2 aminoethyl) biotinamide. 2. In three cats, the long-ranging projections of six HFAs were examined by selectively injecting afferents with RFs on digit 2, 4, or 5, directly over the digit 3 representation, and examining their collateral morphology in transverse sections of the spinal cord. The rostral and caudal boundaries of the digit 3 representation were determined by mapping the RFs of identified spinocervical tract (SCT) neurons. 3. In two more cats, three HFAs were injected at random rostrocaudal positions and their morphology was examined in parasagittal sections. In one animal (2 HFAs), the somatotopy of the digit representation was again determined by mapping the RFs of SCT neurons. In the remaining cat (1 HFA), the somatotopy of the dorsal horn was mapped from the RFs of unidentified dorsal horn neurons. 4. Hair follicle afferents emitted many more collaterals, over much greater rostrocaudal distances, than indicated by previous horseradish peroxidase studies, and all collaterals gave rise to synaptic boutons. 5. HFAs that have RFs confined to a small part of a digit give rise to bouton-bearing axonal branches throughout the entire rostrocaudal extent of the hindpaw representation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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