Sensory Neurons and Fibers from Multiple Spinal Cord Levels Innervate the Rabbit Lumbar Disc.

Zhang, Yejia MD, PhD; Kerns, James M. PhD; Anderson, D Greg MD; Lee, Young Sang MD; Chen, Er-Yun MD; Tannoury, Chadi MD; An, Howard S. MD

The objective of this study was to establish the neurotransmission pathway from the lumbar L5/6 intervertebral disc (IVD) to the spinal cord in the rabbit.  Fluorogold particles injected into the posterior portion of the rabbit L5/6 IVD were traced by examining gold-positive neurons and fibers in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord at various root levels.  The authors conclude that Fluorogold particles injected into the rabbit L5/6 IVD are taken up by primary sensory neurons in the DRGs and primary sensory fibers in the posterior horn of the spinal cord at multiple levels. This diffuse innervation pattern of the lumbar disc may help explain why discogenic back pain in humans is often poorly localized.

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.    85(11):865-871, November 2006.

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