Somatostatin-like immunoreactivity in primary afferents of the medial articular nerve and colocalization with substance P in the cat

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Apr 10;354(3):345-52. doi: 10.1002/cne.903540304.


The proportion of somatostatin-containing dorsal root ganglion cells innervating the knee joint of the cat via the medial articular nerve was determined by using retrograde labeling with fast blue and immunohistochemistry. Immunoreactivity was found in 8.6% of labeled cell bodies. In colchicine-treated ganglia, the proportion increased to 16.8%. Only small and intermediate-sized perikarya showed somatostatin-like immunoreactivity, indicating that this neuropeptide is synthesized predominantly in primary afferent units with unmyelinated sensory axons but may also be present in primary afferents with thinly myelinated sensory fibers. Colchicine treatment had no influence on the cell size distribution. Colocalization of somatostatin with substance P was determined by comparing the proportions of immunopositive dorsal root ganglion cells after incubation with antibodies against substance P or somatostatin or with a mixture of both. Substance P-like immunoreactivity was found in 18.1% (untreated ganglia) and 19.6% (colchicine treated ganglia) of the labeled neurons. After incubation with a mixed antibody solution, 18.2% of joint afferents in untreated and 19.9% of the cells in colchicine-treated ganglia were immunopositive. Comparing this result with the results obtained using somatostatin and substance P antibodies alone, one can calculate that both neuropeptides are colocalized in about 17% of the cat's knee joint afferents. About 3% of the neurons contain only substance P, whereas almost none of the neurons contain only somatostatin. Based on this fact, one can assume that both neuropeptides are coreleased in peripheral tissue as well as in the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / chemistry
  • Amidines
  • Animals
  • Cats / metabolism*
  • Cell Size
  • Colchicine
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Ganglia, Spinal / chemistry*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Knee Joint / innervation*
  • Male
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Somatostatin / analysis*
  • Substance P / analysis*


  • Amidines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Peptides
  • diamidino compound 253-50
  • somatostatin-like peptides
  • Substance P
  • Somatostatin
  • Colchicine