Association of postganglionic sympathetic neurons with primary afferents in sympathetic-sensory co-cultures

Michael Belenky, Marshall Devor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Functional coupling between sympathetic postganglionic neurons and sensory neurons is thought to play an essential role in the pathogenesis of certain chronic pain syndromes following peripheral tissue and nerve injury. The mechanism(s) underlying this interaction are enigmatic. The relative anatomical inaccessibility of sympathetic and sensory neurons in vivo complicates study of their interrelationships. We have developed a system for long-term co-culturing of explants of sympathetic chain ganglia and dorsal root ganglia from newborn rats. Co-cultures were labelled for tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity and studied at the light and electron microscopic levels. Explanted ganglia of both types survived well in co- culture. They maintained their tissue type-specific histological properties, including neuronal and glial morphology, and characteristic glial-neuronal associations. Moreover, neurons maintained their characteristic neurochemical identity, at least to the extent that sympathetic neurons continued to express tyrosine hydroxylase and dorsal root ganglion neurons did not. Sympathetic neurons emitted numerous outgrowing processes (axons) some of which came into association with sensory neurons in the explanted dorsal root ganglia. Some apparently specific sympathetic-sensory contacts were observed, suggesting that a functional interaction may develop between sympathetic axons and sensory neurons in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-731
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neurocytology
Volume26
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the German-Israel Foundation for Research and Development (GIF), the Israel Science Foundation, and the Israel Ministry of Science and

Funding

Supported by the German-Israel Foundation for Research and Development (GIF), the Israel Science Foundation, and the Israel Ministry of Science and

FundersFunder number
German-Israel Foundation for Research and Development
German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development
Israel Science Foundation
Ministry of science and technology, Israel

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