Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The cutaneous nerves of rat, cat, guinea pig, pig, and man were studied by immunocytochemistry to compare the staining potency of general neural markers and to investigate the density of nerves containing peptides. Antiserum to protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5) stained more nerves than antisera to neurofilaments, neuronspecific enolase (NSE), and synaptophysin or histochemistry for acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Peptidergic axons showed species variation in density of distribution and were most abundant in pig and fewest in man. However, the specific peptides in nerves innervating the various structures were consistent between species. Nerve fibers immunoreactive for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and/or vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) predominated in all the species; those immunoreactive to tachykinins (substance P and neurokinin A [NKA]) and neuropeptide tyrosine (NPY) were less abundant. Neonatal capsaicin, at the doses employed in this study, destroyed approximately 70% of CGRP- and tachykinin-immunoreactive sensory axons; whereas 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) at the doses employed resulted in a complete loss of NPY and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity without affecting VIP, CGRP, and tachykinins.Thus, this study confirms that antiserum to PGP 9.5 is the most suitable and practical marker for the demonstration of cutaneous nerves. Species differences exist in the density of peptidergic innervation, but apparently not for specific peptides. Not all sensory axons immunoreactive for CGRP and substance P/NKA are capsaicin-sensitive. However, all sympathetic TH- and NPY- immunoreactive axons are totally responsive to 6-OHDA; but no change was seen in VIP-immunoreactive axons, suggesting some demarcation of cutaneous adrenergic and cholinergic sympathetic fibers.
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