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Glial cell and macrophage reactions in rat spinal ganglion after peripheral nerve lesions: an immunocytochemical and morphometric study.

F. Fenzi, M. D. Benedetti, G. Moretto, N. Rizzuto


Following peripheral nerve injury perineuronal satellite cell reaction in the corresponding spinal ganglion is observed. The mechanisms underlying the glial responses to axon injury remain unknown. In an immunocytochemical and morphometric study we investigated satellite cell and macrophage responses in the rat L4 and L5 dorsal root ganglia (DRG) during the seven days immediately after unilateral sciatic nerve crush or transection. Nerve lesion induced a significant increase of glial fibrillary acidic protein-immunoreactive (GFAP-IR) cells in the ipsilateral L4-L5 DRGs. The number of ED1-positive macrophages significantly increased as well. We found no significant differences between the increases provoked by the two types of nerve lesion, but the macrophage activation was detected earlier after nerve transection than after crush. No correlation was detected between satellite cells and macrophages reactions over the 7 day period we examined. These findings support the idea that intercellular neuron-glial diffusible signals play a major role in DRG glial cell response to peripheral nerve lesion.

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