[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Clinically, the origin of low back pain is unknown. The pain may originate from the lumbar muscles directly, or it may be referred pain from the spine. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons with dichotomizing axons have been reported in several species and are thought to be related to referred pain. However, these neurons, which have dichotomizing axons to the lumbar facet joints and to the lumbar muscle, have not been fully investigated.
Two neurotracers - 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'- tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) and fluorogold (FG) - were used in the present double-labeling study. DiI crystals were placed in the right L5/6 facet joint, and FG was applied to right multifidus muscles at the L5 level in 10 rats. Two weeks later, bilateral DRGs from L1 through L6 were harvested, sectioned, and observed under a fluorescence microscope.
DiI-labeled DRG neurons innervating the L5/6 facet joint (5.17% of the total DRG neurons) were distributed from L1 to L6. FG-labeled DRG neurons innervating the lower back muscle (15.9% of the total) were also distributed from L1 to L6. Double-labeled DRG neurons were found from L1 to L6. The ratio of total double-labeled/total DiI-labeled DRG neurons was 17% and that of total double-labeled/total FG-labeled DRG neurons was 7%. Approximately 17% of all DRG neurons innervating the facet joints had other axons that extended to the lower back muscle.
This finding provides a possible neuroanatomical explanation for referred low back muscle pain from the lower facet joints.
Article · May 2010 · Journal of Orthopaedic Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: STUDY DESIGN.: Immunohistological analysis of punctured disc after application of a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor. OBJECTIVE.: To examine effect of direct application on dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons innervating damaged rat discs. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Degeneration of lumbar discs is one cause of low back pain. Pathogenesis may involve sensory nerve ingrowth into disc inner layers; tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is thought to be a major inducer of ingrowth. Because p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38) upregulates TNF-alpha expression and may play a crucial role in pain sensation, we investigated the effect of one injection of inhibitor on expression of the pain-related neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). METHODS.: The neuro-tracer fluoro-gold was applied to the surfaces of L4/5 discs to label the innervating DRG neurons (n = 30). Of 30 rats, 10 were controls, whereas the other 20 were the experimental model (i.e., discs were punctured with 23-gauge needle). P38 specific inhibitor or saline was applied simultaneously (n = 10 each, Puncture + inhibitor and puncture + saline groups). Fourteen days postsurgery, DRGs from L1 to L6 were harvested, sectioned, and immunostained for CGRP. Proportion of CGRP-immunoreactive DRG neurons was evaluated in all groups. RESULTS.: Fluoro-gold-labeled neurons innervating the L4/5 disc were distributed throughout L1 to L6 DRGs in all groups. Proportions of labeled neurons positive for CGRP were 15.2% +/- 8% (controls), 27.2% +/- 10% (puncture + saline), and 25.2% +/- 8% (puncture + inhibitor). Proportion of immunoreactive neurons was significantly increased in the puncture groups compared with controls. However, there was no significant difference between the 2 puncture groups (P > 0.1). CONCLUSION.: In this model, CGRP was upregulated in DRG neurons innervating the damaged disc. However, a direct single application of p38 inhibitor did not suppress CGRP expression in innervating DRG neurons. Future research with p38 inhibitor in this model should evaluate multiple or systemic administration of inhibitor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Nerve growth factor (NGF) and its low-affinity receptor, p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75 NTR), are important mediators of pain. To explore further the mechanisms involved, we examined suppression of pain behavior and expression of neuropeptides such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) using a p75 NTR inhibitory antibody, in a mouse sciatic nerve crush model. In the nerve-injured model, 150 microg of a p75 NTR inhibitory antibody or 10 microl of saline were applied. The sciatic nerve in the sham-operated group was uninjured. Mechanical allodynia was measured for 2 weeks. CGRP and p75 NTR expression in L5 dorsal root ganglions (DRGs) was examined immunohistochemically. Mechanical allodynia was found in the two nerve injured groups, but not in the sham-operated group (p < 0.05). However, the magnitude of the mechanical allodynia was significantly decreased after application of p75 NTR inhibitory antibody (p < 0.05). CGRP and p75 NTR immunoreactivity in the L5 DRG neurons was upregulated in the injured nerve groups compared with the sham-operated group; however, p75 NTR inhibitory antibody decreased the CGRP and p75 NTR expression (p < 0.01). Application of the p75 NTR inhibitory antibody to the pinched sciatic nerve suppressed CGRP and p75 NTR expression and pain behavior.
Article · Jan 2009 · Journal of Orthopaedic Research