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Eur J Neurosci. 1998 Sep;10(9):3012-9.

Cells in laminae III and IV of the rat spinal cord which possess the neurokinin-1 receptor receive monosynaptic input from myelinated primary afferents.

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Laboratory of Human Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK.


We have previously demonstrated that neurons which have cell bodies in laminae III or IV of the rat spinal cord, dendrites that enter the superficial laminae and which possess the neurokinin-1 receptor receive a major synaptic input from substance P-containing primary afferent axons. In this study we set out to determine whether these cells also receive monosynaptic input from myelinated primary afferents by using transganglionic transport of the B subunit of cholera toxin to identify the central terminals of myelinated afferents from the sciatic nerve. Dual-immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy revealed apparent contacts between labelled primary afferent terminals and all of the neurokinin-1 receptor-immunoreactive cells examined, although these contacts were much less numerous than those which the cells receive from substance P-containing primary afferents. By using a combined confocal and electron microscopic technique we were able to confirm that synapses were present at some of the contacts between primary afferents and neurokinin-1 receptor-immunoreactive neurons. These results suggest that cells of this type will have wide-dynamic range receptive fields, but with a relatively strong input from nociceptors.

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