Substance P and enkephalin in transected axons of medulla and spinal cord

V. M. Pickel*, Richard Miller, June Chan, Khushdev K. Sumal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The accumulation of transported materials in cut axons is demonstrated by the light and electron microscopic immunocytochemical localization of substance P and enkephalin in the caudal medulla and cervical spinal cord of adult rat. Two days following unilateral knife-cuts in the caudal medulla or spinal (C2-C3) levels, substance P and enkephalin-like immunoreactivity (SPLI and ELI) are detected in lesioned axons located rostral and caudal to the transection. Rostrally, SPLI and ELI are detected in the lateral reticular region and ventrolateral fasciculus corresponding to the location of previously identified bulbospinal pathways. Caudally, previously unidentified, propriospinal pathways showing SPLI are detected in the dorsal columns and in the dorsolateral fasciculus. In contrast, ELI is found caudal to the transection only in the reticular region of the medulla. For both peptides, immunoreactivity is present throughout axons containing numerous large, dense core, and small clear vesicles. These results support the concept of both particulate and soluble modes of transport for substance P and enkephalin within axons of the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1983


  • brain stem pathways
  • immunocytochemistry
  • lesion
  • neuropeptides transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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