Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Using in situ hybridization, the expression of the mRNA for a neuropeptide Y (NPY) receptor, was studied in lumbar (L) 4 and 5 dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) of normal rats and at various intervals after unilateral sciatic nerve transection. Twenty percent of all normal DRG neurons were NPY receptor mRNA-positive, and the majority of these neurons were of the small type, with only a few labelled medium-sized and large neurons. In L5 normal ganglia NPY receptor mRNA colocalized with substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide and galanin mRNAs in small neurons, but not in medium-sized or large neurons containing these peptides. NPY receptor mRNA was not observed in somatostatin or nitric oxide synthase mRNA-positive neurons. Sciatic nerve transection induced a marked decrease in NPY receptor mRNA levels. However, in parallel there was a transient increase in the number of NPY receptor mRNA-positive small neuron profiles, but the intensity of labelling was mostly very low, although a few strongly labelled, small neuron profiles were also encountered. In addition, axotomy caused a marked increase in the number of NPY receptor mRNA-positive large neuron profiles in the ipsilateral DRGs, and they constituted 15–20% of counted DRG neuron profiles and 45–65% of counted large neuron profiles, 7–28 days after axotomy. In L5 DRGs, ipsilateral to the axotomy, NPY receptor mRNA colocalized with NPY mRNA in many large and some medium-sized neuron profiles, with galanin mRNA in some small, medium-sized and large neuron profiles and with vasoactive intestinal polypeptide mRNA in some small and medium-sized neuron profiles and a few large profiles. Occasionally, NPY receptor mRNA was observed in nitric oxide synthase mRNA-positive small neurons. In the dorsal horn, NPY receptor mRNA-positive small neurons were concentrated in lamina II at L4 and L5 levels, and were scattered in deeper laminae. No marked changes were observed ipsilateral to the axotomy. No NPY receptor mRNA-positive cells were found in the normal rat gracile nucleus, or in this nucleus after axotomy. These results show that a NPY receptor may be a prejunctional receptor in primary afferent neurons and play a role in the modulation of somatosensatory information, both in normal and lesioned primary afferent DRG cells. However, axotomy induced a distinct shift in NPY receptor mRNA expression from small to large neurons, indicating that sensitivity to NPY is switched from one modality to another. Thus, not only several sensory neuropeptides, as shown in previous studies, but at least also one of the peptide receptors change their expression dramatically in response to axotomy, suggesting complex adaptive responses.
Type of Medium: