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Mapping of tachykinins in the cat spinal cord.

L. Sanchez, R. Convenas, J. A. Aguirre, J. A. Narvaez, A. Gomez, G. Tramu


Using an indirect immunoperoxidase technique, the location of cell bodies and fibers containing substance P, neurokinin A and neurokinin B was studied in the cat spinal cord. The former two neuropeptides showed a widespread distribution throughout the whole spinal cord, whereas the distribution of neurokinin B was more restricted. Neurokinin A-immunoreactive structures showed a more widespread distribution and a higher density than the immunoreactive structures observed to contain substance P. In the cat spinal cord, we observed cell bodies containing neurokinin A, but no cell bodies containing neurokinin B or substance P were found. These cell bodies were located in laminae V (sacral 1 and 2 levels), VI (sacral 1 and 3), VII (lumbar 7, sacral 1 and 3, caudal 1) and X (sacral 1). Laminae I and II showed the highest density of immunoreactive fibers for each of the three tachykinins studied, being in general lamina IV who showed the lowest number of immunoreactive fibers containing substance P, neurokinin A or B. The anatomical distribution of the three tachykinins studied in the cat spinal cord indicates that the neuropeptides could be involved in the neurotransmission and/or in the neuromodulation of nociceptive information, as well as in autonomic and affective responses to pain. Moreover, the involvement of substance P, neurokinin A or B in other functions unrelated to the transmission of pain is also possible (autonomic and motor functions). The distribution of the neuropeptides studied in the cat is compared with the location of the same neuropeptides in the spinal cord of other species. The possible origin of the tachykinergic fibers in the cat spinal cord is also discussed.

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