Spinal subarachnoid adrenal medullary transplants reduce hind paw swelling and peripheral nerve transport following formalin injection in rats

Uri Herzberg, Aldric Hama, Jacqueline Sagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that adrenal medullary chromaffin cells transplanted into the spinal subarachnoid space significantly reduced pain-related behavior following hind paw plantar formalin injection in rats. The data suggests a centrally mediated antinociceptive mechanism. The spinal transplants may have effects on sciatic nerve function as well. To address this, the current study examined the effects of spinal adrenal transplants on hind paw edema and the anterograde transport of substance P (SP) that occur following formalin injection. Robust formalin-evoked edema, as well as hind paw flinching, was observed in striated muscle control-transplanted rats, which were not observed in adrenal-transplanted rats. To visualize transport of SP, the sciatic nerve was ligated ipsilateral to formalin injection and the nerve was processed 48 h later for immunocytochemistry. A significant formalin-induced accumulation of SP immunoreactivity (IR) was observed proximal to the ligation in control-transplanted rats. In contrast, there was significantly less SP IR observed from nerve of adrenal-transplanted rats, suggesting a diminution of anterograde axoplasmic transport by adrenal transplants. The change in SP IR may have been due to an alteration of transport due to formalin injection, thus, transport was visualized by the accumulation of growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43) at the ligation site. Formalin injection did not significantly increase proximal accumulation of GAP43 IR, indicating that formalin does not increase anterograde transport. Surprisingly, however, adrenal transplants significantly diminished GAP43 IR accumulation compared to control-transplanted rats. These data demonstrate that spinal adrenal transplants can attenuate the formalin-evoked response by modulating primary afferent responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Mar 10 2008


  • Axonal transport
  • Chromaffin cell
  • Dorsal root reflex
  • Growth-associated protein 43
  • Nociceptor
  • Spinal cord
  • Substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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