Background: Dorsal root reflexes (DRRs) are antidromic activities traveling along the primary afferent fibers, which can be generated by peripheral stimulation or central stimulation. DRRs are thought to be involved in the generation of neurogenic inflammation, as indicated by plasma extravasation and vasodilatation. The hypothesis of this study was that electrical stimulation of the central stump of a cut dorsal root would lead to generation of DRRs, resulting in plasma extravasation and vasodilatation.
Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were prepared to expose spinal cord and L4-L6 dorsal roots under pentobarbital general anesthesia. Electrical stimulation of either intact, proximal or distal, cut dorsal roots was applied while plasma extravasation or blood perfusion of the hindpaw was recorded.
Results: While stimulation of the peripheral stump of a dorsal root elicited plasma extravasation, electrical stimulation of the central stump of a cut dorsal root generated significant DRRs, but failed to induce plasma extravasation. However, stimulation of the central stump induced a significant increase in blood perfusion.
Conclusions: It is suggested that DRRs are involved in vasodilatation but not plasma extravasation in neurogenic inflammation in normal animals.