The present paper is aimed at defining distinctive subdivisions of the human cuneate nucleus (Cu), evident from prenatal to old life, whose occurrence has never been clearly formalized in the human brain, or described in other species so far. It extends our early observations on the presence of gray matter areas that host strong substance P (SP) immunoreactivity in the territory of the human Cu and adjacent cuneate fascicle. Here we provide a three-dimensional reconstruction of the Cu fields rich in SP and further identify those areas by means of their immunoreactivity to the neuropeptides SP, calcitonin gene-related peptide, methionine- and leucine-enkephalin, peptide histidine-isoleucine, somatostatin and galanin, to the trophins glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and to the neuroplasticity proteins polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule and growth-associated protein-43. The presence, density and distribution of immunoreactivity for each of these molecules closely resemble those occurring in the superficial layers of the caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus (Sp5C). Myelin and Nissl stainings suggest that those Cu subregions and the Sp5C superficial layers share a similar histological aspect. This work establishes the existence of definite subregions, localized within the Cu territory, that bear the neurochemical and histological features of sensory nuclei committed to the neurotransmission of protopathic stimuli, including pain. These findings appear of particular interest when considering that functional, preclinical and clinical studies show that the dorsal column nuclei, classical relay station of fine somatic tactile and proprioceptive sensory stimuli, are also involved in pain neurotransmission.

The human cuneate nucleus contains discrete subregions whose neurochemical features match those of the relay nuclei for nociceptive information

QUARTU, MARINA;SERRA, MARIA PINA;BOI, MARIANNA;DEMONTIS, ROBERTO;PODDIGHE, LAURA;PICCI, CRISTINA;MELIS, TIZIANA
2014-01-01

Abstract

The present paper is aimed at defining distinctive subdivisions of the human cuneate nucleus (Cu), evident from prenatal to old life, whose occurrence has never been clearly formalized in the human brain, or described in other species so far. It extends our early observations on the presence of gray matter areas that host strong substance P (SP) immunoreactivity in the territory of the human Cu and adjacent cuneate fascicle. Here we provide a three-dimensional reconstruction of the Cu fields rich in SP and further identify those areas by means of their immunoreactivity to the neuropeptides SP, calcitonin gene-related peptide, methionine- and leucine-enkephalin, peptide histidine-isoleucine, somatostatin and galanin, to the trophins glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and to the neuroplasticity proteins polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule and growth-associated protein-43. The presence, density and distribution of immunoreactivity for each of these molecules closely resemble those occurring in the superficial layers of the caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus (Sp5C). Myelin and Nissl stainings suggest that those Cu subregions and the Sp5C superficial layers share a similar histological aspect. This work establishes the existence of definite subregions, localized within the Cu territory, that bear the neurochemical and histological features of sensory nuclei committed to the neurotransmission of protopathic stimuli, including pain. These findings appear of particular interest when considering that functional, preclinical and clinical studies show that the dorsal column nuclei, classical relay station of fine somatic tactile and proprioceptive sensory stimuli, are also involved in pain neurotransmission.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/100918
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