NK-1 receptor immunoreactivity in distinct morphological types of lamina I neurons of the primate spinal cord.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Neurosci, Volume 19, Issue 9, p.3545-55 (1999)


<p>In cat and monkey, lamina I cells can be classified into three basic morphological types (fusiform, pyramidal, and multipolar), and recent intracellular labeling evidence in the cat indicates that fusiform and multipolar lamina I cells are two different types of nociceptive cells, whereas pyramidal cells are innocuous thermoreceptive-specific. Because earlier observations indicated that only nociceptive dorsal horn neurons respond to substance P (SP), we examined which morphological types of lamina I neurons express receptors for SP (NK-1r). We categorized NK-1r-immunoreactive (IR) lamina I neurons in serial horizontal sections from the cervical and lumbar enlargements of four monkeys. Consistent results were obtained by two independent teams of observers. Nearly all NK-1r-IR cells were fusiform (42%) or multipolar (43%), but only 6% were pyramidal (with 9% unclassified). We obtained similar findings in three monkeys in which we used double-labeling immunocytochemistry to identify NK-1r-IR and spinothalamic lamina I neurons retrogradely labeled with cholera toxin subunit b from the thalamus; most NK-1r-IR lamina I spinothalamic neurons were fusiform (48%) or multipolar (33%), and only 10% were pyramidal. In contrast, most (approximately 75%) pyramidal and some (approximately 25%) fusiform and multipolar lamina I spinothalamic neurons did not display NK-1r immunoreactivity. These data indicate that most fusiform and multipolar lamina I neurons in the monkey can express NK-1r, consistent with the idea that both types are nociceptive, whereas only a small proportion of lamina I pyramidal cells express this receptor, consistent with the previous finding that they are non-nociceptive. However, these findings also indicate that not all nociceptive lamina I neurons express receptors for SP.</p>

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