Locations and morphologies of sympathetically correlated neurons in the T10 spinal segment of the rat

Xiaorui Tang, Nathan D. Neckel, Lawrence P. Schramm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We precisely localized and morphologically characterized sympathetically correlated neurons in the acutely transected spinal cord of the rat. We have shown that these neurons are likely members of the spinal networks that generate sympathetic activity after spinal cord transection. In humans with injured spinal cords, these networks are responsible for hypertensive crises that occur in response to ordinarily innocuous stimuli. We recorded from neurons in the dorsal horn of the T10 spinal segment of anesthetized rats after acute spinal cord transection at C2. Neurons with activities closely correlated to renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) were considered to be putative components of spinal sympathetic systems. These neurons had receptive fields on the left flank and abdomen. After characterizing their ongoing activities, receptive fields, and degrees of correlation with RSNA, we juxtacellularly labeled neurons with biotinamide and subsequently reconstructed their somas and dendrites histologically. Confirming our earlier studies, sympathetically correlated neurons were found in dorsal horn laminae III, IV, and V. For the first time, we also identified sympathetically correlated neurons in laminae I and II. The dendrites of all sympathetically correlated neurons projected to multiple lamina. By virtue of the positions of their somas and the broad projections of their dendrites, we concluded that sympathetically correlated neurons may receive direct input both from supraspinal systems and from nociceptive and non-nociceptive primary afferents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 27 2003


  • Autonomic dysreflexia
  • Hypertensive crisis
  • Renal sympathetic nerve activity
  • Spinal sympathetic interneuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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