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Organization of pERK-immunoreactive cells in trigeminal spinal nucleus caudalis and upper cervical cord following capsaicin injection into oral and craniofacial regions in rats.

To define the somatotopic arrangement of neurons in the trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis and upper cervical cord activated by acute noxious stimulation of various orofacial sites, pERK expression was analyzed in these neurons. After capsaicin injection into the tongue, lower gum, upper and lower lips, or mental region, pERK-like immunoreactive (pERK-LI) cells were distributed mainly in the dorsal half of the trigeminal spinal nucleus interporalis (Vi) and caudalis (Vc) transition zone (Vi/Vc zone), middle Vc, and Vc and upper cervical cord transition zone (Vc/C2 zone). pERK-LI cells were distributed throughout the dorsal to ventral portion of the Vi/Vc zone, middle Vc, and Vc/C2 zone following capsaicin injection into the anterior hard palate, upper gum, buccal mucosa, or vibrissal pad and in the ventral portion of the Vi/Vc zone, middle Vc, and Vc/C2 zone following snout, ophthalmic, or ocular injection of capsaicin. The rostrocaudal distribution area of pERK-LI cells was more extensive from the Vi/Vc zone to the Vc/C2 zone after intraoral injection than that after facial injection, and the rostrocaudal distribution of pERK-LI cells from the Vi/Vc zone to the Vc/C2 zone had a somatotopic arrangement, with the snout being represented most rostrally and ophthalmic, ocular, or mental regions represented most caudally. These findings suggest that the pERK-LI cells expressed from the Vi/Vc zone to the Vc/C2 zone following injection of capsaicin in facial and intraoral structures may be differentially involved in pain perception in facial and intraoral sites.

Pubmed ID: 18196540 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Capsaicin | Cervical Vertebrae | Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases | Face | Immunohistochemistry | Male | Neurons, Afferent | Nociceptors | Rats | Rats, Sprague-Dawley | Sensory System Agents | Spinal Cord | Trigeminal Nucleus, Spinal | Vibrissae

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