, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 211-217

Immunocytochemical study of parvalbumin, calbindin D-28k, and calretinin in the superficial dorsal horn of the rat spinal cord following unilateral hindpaw inflammation

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The effect of noxious stimulation on the immunore-activity of the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin (PV), calbindin-D-28k (CB) and calretinin (CR) was investigated in the superficial dorsal horn of lumbar levels L5-L3 of the rat spinal cord. Freund's adjuvant was injected unilaterally into the hindpaw to induce inflammation. Immunohistochemical techniques were utilized to investigate changes in the calcium-binding proteins 2h and 1, 2, 4, and 7 days after injection. At 24h after injection, a decrease in the intensity of fluorescence of PV-immunoreactive (IR) fibers was observed in the superficial layer (substantia gelatinosa) of the ipsilateral dorsal horn (L5-L3) in most animals. Comparatively fewer animals exhibited changes in the CB- and CR-IR fibers, except at the L3 level 2 days after, and at the L4 level 7 days after the hindpaw injection. After the peak response, at 24h in most animals, there was a decline in the number of responders at 2 days and no differences were noted at 4 days. However, at 7 days, there was again an increase in the number of animals revealing diminished fluorescence intensity in the ipsilateral substantia gelatinosa. Changes in immunoreactivity of calcium binding proteins in the interneurons of the superficial lumbar dorsal horn may reflect hyperactivity within these neurons following noxious stimulation.