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Neuroscience. 1998 Oct;86(4):1217-34.

Partial and complete sciatic nerve injuries induce similar increases of neuropeptide Y and vasoactive intestinal peptide immunoreactivities in primary sensory neurons and their central projections.

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1
Department of Physiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

Partial nerve injury is more likely to cause neuropathic pain than complete nerve injury. We have compared the changes in neuropeptide expression in primary sensory neurons which follow complete and partial injuries to determine if these might be involved. Since more neurons are damaged by complete injury, we expected that complete sciatic nerve injury would simply cause greater increases in neuropeptide Y and vasoactive intestinal peptide than partial injury. We examined neuropeptide Y and vasoactive intestinal peptide immunoreactivities in L4 and L5 dorsal root ganglia, the dorsal horn of L4-L5 spinal cord, and the gracile nuclei of rats killed 14 days after unilateral complete sciatic nerve transection, partial sciatic nerve transection and chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerves. In all three groups of rats, neuropeptide Y- and vasoactive intestinal peptide-immunoreactive neurons were increased in the ipsilateral L4 and L5 dorsal root ganglion when compared with the contralateral side. Most neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive neurons were of medium and large size, but a few were small. Neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive axonal fibers were increased from laminae I to IV, and vasoactive intestinal peptide-immunoreactive axonal fibers were increased in laminae I and II, of the ipsilateral dorsal horn of L4-L5 spinal cord. The increases of neuropeptide Y and vasoactive intestinal peptide immunoreactivities in the dorsal horn were similar among the three groups. However, only after constriction injury were some vasoactive intestinal peptide-immunoreactive neurons seen in the deeper laminae of the ipsilateral dorsal horn. Robust neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive axonal fibers and some neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive cells were seen in the ipsilateral gracile nuclei of all three groups of animals, but neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive cells were more prominent after constriction injury. Contrary to our expectations, partial and complete sciatic nerve injuries induced similar increases in neuropeptide Y and vasoactive intestinal peptide in lumbar dorsal root ganglion neurons and their central projections in the dorsal horn and the gracile nuclei two weeks after injury. Some neurons whose axons were spared by partial injury may also increase neuropeptide Y or vasoactive intestinal peptide expression. Altered neuropeptide release from these functional sensory neurons may play a role in neuropathic pain.

PMID:
9697128
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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