Spinal termination of functionally identified primary afferent neurons with slowly conducting myelinated fibers

The Journal of Comparative Neurology
Alan R Light, Edward R Perl


Single primary afferent myelinated fibers from cutaneous receptors of cat and monkey were functionally identified by recording from the spinal cord with micropipettes filled with horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Relatively slowly conducting fibers (less than 40 m/sec) from high threshold mechanoreceptors (mechanical nociceptors) and two types of low threshold mechanoreceptor (D-hair and field) were selected for staining. Iontophoresis of the HRP and subsequent histochemical reaction stained the axons recorded from and their collaterals, including terminations, for several millimeters. The termination patterns in the two species proved essentially identical. Ipsilaterally, the mechanical nociceptor fibers terminated principally in the dorsal horn's marginal zone and in the ventral parts of the nucleus proprius (lamina V in the cat). Some of these nociceptors also had terminals in the midline just dorsal to the central canal, contralaterally in the marginal zone, and at the base of the opposite nucleus proprius. In contrast, the D-hair primary afferent axons terminated in the dorsal part of the nucleus proprius overlapping into the innermost portion of the substantia gelatinosa. The field receptor fibers terminated predominantly in ...Continue Reading


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