Transneuronal degeneration in the Rolando substance of the primate spinal cord evoked by axotomy-induced transganglionic degenerative atrophy of central primary sensory terminals

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Abstract

Transection of the sciatic nerve in Rhesus monkeys and the consequent transganglionic degenerative atrophy (TDA) of central terminals of primary afferents result in transneuronal degeneration of substantia gelatinosa (SG) cells. Severe degeneration is characterized by an increased electron density of the nucleus and by conspicuous shrinkage of the cytoplasm, mitochondrial swelling, dilation of cisterns of the rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum, accumulation of free ribosomes and an electron-dense material in the cytoplasm. In the mild form, dilation of cisternal elements of the endoplasmic reticulum, swollen mitochondria and accumulation of free ribosomes takes place. About 10% of SG cells in segment L5 undergo the severe form whereas the rest shows signs of the mild form. Cytoplasmic alterations that occur during transneuronal degeneration seem to start at the level of subsurface cisterns. Dendrites and axons of transneuronally degenerating SG cells also show a conspicuous electron density. By analyzing the synaptic relationships of such "darkened" dendrites, connections in the upper dorsal horn can be deciphered. Modular units of the primary nociceptive analyzer that evaluate noxious and innocuous inputs on the basis of thin versus thick (AδC/Aβ) afferent activity and subjecting them to descending control appear to be recruited from structurally dispersed elements of synaptic glomeruli. These are arranged alongside dendritic processes of large antenna cells which relay impulses to projection cells of the spinothalamic tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-525
Number of pages11
JournalCell And Tissue Research
Volume258
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1989

Keywords

  • Connections
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Spinal cord
  • Subsurface cisterns
  • Transganglionic degenerative atrophy
  • Transneuronal degeneration
  • Wiring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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