Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide that has been implicated in the transmission and modulation of primary afferent nociceptive stimuli. In this study, we describe the light microscopic distribution of CGRP immunoreactivity (IR) within the feline trigeminal ganglion and trigeminal nucleus of normal adult subjects and in subjects 10 and 30 days following complete retrogasserian rhizotomy. Within the trigeminal ganglion of normal subjects, cell bodies and fibers showed CGRP-IR, whereas immunoreactive fibers were rare in the central root region. Within the normal spinal trigeminal and main sensory nuclei, CGRP-IR was seen to form a reproducible pattern that varied between the different nuclei. Following rhizotomy, most, but not all, of the CGRP-IR was lost from the spinal trigeminal and main sensory nuclei, except in regions where the upper cervical roots and cranial nerves VII, IX, and X project into the trigeminal nucleus. The pattern seen at 10 days contained more CGRP-IR than that seen at 30 days and suggests that degenerating fibers still show CGRP-IR. In contrast to the decrease seen in the nuclei after rhizotomy, examination of the central root that was still attached to the trigeminal ganglion showed an increase in CGRP-IR within fibers, some of which ended in growth conelike enlargements. Rhizotomy induced a dramatic increase in CGRP-IR within trigeminal motoneurons and their fibers, which was strongest 10 days after rhizotomy and weaker at 30 days, which was still stronger than normal. These results indicate that the majority of CGRP-IR found in the trigeminal nucleus originates from trigeminal primary afferents and that an upregulation of CGRP-IR occurs in trigeminal motoneurons and in regenerating fibers in the part of the central root that was still attached to the ganglion. In addition, the persistence of CGRP-IR fibers in the trigeminal nucleus provides one possible explanation for the preservation of pain in humans following trigeminal rhizotomy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Comparative Neurology|
|State||Published - Feb 19 1996|
- orofacial pain
- primary afferents
ASJC Scopus subject areas