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Dendritic spread of dorsal horn neurons in cats

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Observations of neurons in dorsal horn laminae IV–VI of the lumbosacral segments of Golgi-stained spinal cords in kittens and adult cats revealed laminar differences in dendritic architecture. Many neurons in lamina IV had dense, bushy dendritic fields. Lamina V contained, in addition to bushy cells similar in appearance to those of lamina IV, increasing numbers of neurons with radiating dendritic fields. Lamina VI was composed almost exclusively of neurons with radiating dendritic fields. These qualitative differences among laminae were accompanied by systematic variations in mean dendritic spread, which increased more than two-fold in adult cats between laminae IV and VI. A second gradient of dendritic spread was found within individual laminae: dendritic spread, particularly medial to lateral spread, increased for successively more lateral cells within a lamina. These differences in the spread of dendrites for neurons in different regions of the dorsal horn may be related to variations in the areas of peripheral receptive fields of dorsal horn neurons.

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Proshansky, E., Egger, M.D. Dendritic spread of dorsal horn neurons in cats. Exp Brain Res 28, 153–166 (1977).

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Key words

  • Cat
  • Spinal cord
  • Dorsal horn
  • Dendritic fields
  • Golgi stain