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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Jan 2020 - 24 Jan 2020

Animal Studies

2020 07 15

J Comp Neurol



Identifying Spinal Afferent (Sensory) Nerve Endings That Innervate The Marrow Cavity And Periosteum Using Anterograde Tracing.


Thai J, Kyloh M, Lee T, Spencer NJ, Ivanusic JJ
J Comp Neurol. 2020 07 15; 528(11):1903-1916.
PMID: 31970770.


Whilst sensory and sympathetic neurons are known to innervate bone, previous studies have found it difficult to unequivocally identify and characterise only those that are of sensory origin. In this study, we have utilized an in vivo anterograde tracing technique to selectively label spinal afferent (sensory) nerve endings that innervate the periosteum and marrow cavity of murine long bones. Unilateral injections of dextran-biotin (anterograde tracer; 20% in saline, 50-100 nL) were made into L3-L5 dorsal root ganglia (DRG). After a 10-day recovery period to allow sufficient time for selective anterograde transport of the tracer to nerve terminal endings in bone, the periosteum (whole-mount) and underlying bone were collected, processed to reveal anterograde labelling, and immuno-labelled with antibodies directed against protein gene product (pan-neuronal marker; PGP9.5), tyrosine hydroxylase (sympathetic neuron marker; TH), calcitonin gene-related protein (peptidergic nociceptor marker; CGRP) and/or neurofilament 200 (myelinated axon marker; NF200). Anterograde labelled nerve endings were dispersed throughout the periosteum and marrow cavity, and could be identified in close apposition to blood vessels and at sites distant from them. The periosteum and the marrow cavity were each innervated by myelinated (NF200+) sensory neurons, and unmyelinated (NF200-) sensory neurons that were either peptidergic (CGRP+) or non-peptidergic (CGRP-). Spinal afferent nerve endings did not express TH, and lacked the cylindrical morphology around blood vessels characteristic of sympathetic innervation. This approach to selective labelling of sensory nerve terminal endings will help to better identify how different sub-populations of sensory neurons, and their peripheral nerve terminal endings, interact with bone. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.