Journal of Neurocytology

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 811–822

Human dorsal root ganglion neurons from embryonic donors extend axons into the host rat spinal cord along laminin-rich peripheral surroundings of the dorsal root transitional zone


  • ELENA N. Kozlova
    • Department of Anatomy, Biomedical CenterUppsala University
  • AKE Seiger
    • Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family MedicineKarolinska Institute
  • HAKAN Aldskogius
    • Department of Anatomy, Biomedical CenterUppsala University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1018522616891

Cite this article as:
Kozlova, E.N., Seiger, A. & Aldskogius, H. J Neurocytol (1997) 26: 811. doi:10.1023/A:1018522616891


Following dorsal root crush, the lesioned axons regenerate in the peripheral compartment of the dorsal root, but stop at the boundary between the peripheral and the central nervous system, the dorsal root transitional zone. We have previously shown that fibres from human fetal dorsal root ganglia grafted to adult rat hosts are able to grow into the spinal cord, but were not able to specify the route taken by the ingrowing fibres. In this study we have challenged the dorsal root transitional zone astrocyte boundary with human dorsal root ganglion transplants from 5–8-week-old embryos. By tracing immunolabelled human fibres in serial sections, we found that fibres consistently grow around the dorsal root transitional zone astrocytes in laminin-rich peripheral surroundings, and extend into the host rat spinal cord along blood vessels, either into deep or superficial laminae of the dorsal horn, or into the dorsal funiculus. Human fibres that did not have access to blood vessels grew on the spinal cord surface. These findings indicate, that in spite of a substantial growth capacity by axons from human embryonic dorsal root ganglion cells as well as their tolerance to non-permissive factors in the mature mammalian CNS, these axons are still sensitive to the repellent effects of astrocytes of the mature dorsal root transitional zone. Furthermore, this axonal ingrowth is consistently associated with laminin-expressing structures until the axons reach the host spinal cord.

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997