c-fos induction in rat superficial dorsal horn following cutaneous application of noxious chemical or mechanical stimuli

Steven L. Jinks, Christopher T. Simons, Jean Marc Dessirier, Mirela Carstens, Joseph F. Antognini, Earl Carstens

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36 Scopus citations


The method of c-fos immunodetection was used to map the distributions of neurons in the lumbar spinal dorsal horn that were activated following intracutaneous (i.c.) microinjection, or iontophoretic application, of different irritant chemicals to the lateral hindpaw of rats. Microinjections (1 μl) of histamine, serotonin (5-HT), nicotine, capsaicin, or formalin each elicited similar distributions of Fos-like immunoreactivity (FLI) in laminae I-II of the ipsilateral superficial dorsal horn, with little or no FLI in deeper laminae or contralaterally. In laminae I and II, FLI cell counts were significantly higher following i.c. histamine, 5-HT, capsaicin, formalin, and noxious pinch, compared to i.c. saline controls. Capsaicin-evoked FLI was dose-dependent. Multivariate analysis of variance revealed no significant difference in spatial distributions of FLI induced by any of the chemical or pinch stimuli. Iontophoretic application of histamine, 5-HT, or nicotine also elicited similar distributions of FLI in the superficial dorsal horn, and cell counts of FLI were significantly higher compared to controls receiving iontophoretic vehicle (methyl cellulose). These results indicate either that individual laminae I-II neurons are activated by each of the irritant chemicals, or that neurons selectively responsive to a given irritant are comingled without any apparent laminar segregation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • c-fos
  • Cutaneous
  • Itch
  • Pain
  • Rat
  • Spinal cord
  • Superficial dorsal horn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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