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Structural effects and potential changes in growth factor signalling in penis-projecting autonomic neurons after axotomy

Authors
Publisher
BioMed Central
Publication Date
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PMC
Keywords
  • Research Article
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

1471-2202-7-41.fm ral ss BioMed CentBMC Neuroscience Open AcceResearch article Structural effects and potential changes in growth factor signalling in penis-projecting autonomic neurons after axotomy Catalina A Palma1 and Janet R Keast*1,2 Address: 1Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia and 2Pain Management Research Institute, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney at Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065, Australia Email: Catalina A Palma - [email protected]; Janet R Keast* - [email protected] * Corresponding author Abstract Background: The responses of adult parasympathetic ganglion neurons to injury and the neurotrophic mechanisms underlying their axonal regeneration are poorly understood. This is especially relevant to penis-projecting parasympathetic neurons, which are vulnerable to injury during pelvic surgery such as prostatectomy. We investigated the changes in pelvic ganglia of adult male rats in the first week after unilateral cavernous (penile) nerve axotomy (cut or crush lesions). In some experiments FluoroGold was injected into the penis seven days prior to injury to allow later identification of penis-projecting neurons. Neurturin and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) are neurotrophic factors for penile parasympathetic neurons, so we also examined expression of relevant receptors, GFRα1 and GFRα2, in injured pelvic ganglion neurons. Results: Axotomy caused prolific growth of axon collaterals (sprouting) in pelvic ganglia ipsilateral to the injury. These collaterals were most prevalent in the region near the exit of the penile nerve. This region contained the majority of FluoroGold-labelled neurons. Many sprouting fibres formed close associations with sympathetic and parasympathetic pelvic neurons, including many FluoroGold neurons. However immunoreactivity for synaptic proteins could not be demonstrated in these collaterals. Prega

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