Distribution of the low-affinity neurotrophin receptor (p75) in the developing trigeminal brainstem complex in the rat

David P. Crockett, Lu Wang, Rui Xin Zhang, M. David Egger

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4 Scopus citations


The low-affinity neurotrophin receptor (p75) binds all members of the neurotrophin family. In the rat, during the first week postpartum, dense p75- immunoreactivity (IR) is present throughout all components of the trigeminal brainstem complex (TBC), largely associated with primary sensory afferents. Within subnucleus caudalis (SpC) of the TBC, intense p75-IR is present in all laminae at birth. During the second and third postnatal weeks, p75-IR in SpC gradually fades within the deeper laminae, becoming generally restricted in the adult to laminae I and II. Similar declines in p75-IR intensity occur in the subnucleus oralis (SpO); in the SpO in the adult, p75-IR is confined to the dorsalmost portion of SpO. In subnucleus interpolaris, an emerging, vibrissa-related pattern of p75-IR is detectable on PD0 (first 24 hr postpartum), which becomes fully differentiated during PD4-PD7. However, this pattern gradually disappears during the third postnatal week. Ventrally in the nucleus principalis (PrV), a pattern of p75-IR that mirrors the topographical arrangement of the vibrissae is detectable by PD0-PD1, is fully differentiated by the end of the first postnatal week, and persists into adulthood. Perinatal unilateral sectioning of the infraorbital nerve on PD0- PD1, but not as late as PD4, disrupts p75-IR patterning in the adult PrV. Although p75 appears to be associated with primary afferent pattern formation, to determine whether it is essential, we examined mutant mice unable to form functional p75. In the TBC of these knockout mice, examined as adults, patterns of cytochrome oxidase staining (which parallel those of p75- IR) appeared to be normal. In summary, during early development, p75 is widely expressed in the TBC during periods of active synaptogenesis and pattern formation, whereas in the adult, its expression is restricted to association with populations of primary sensory afferents. However, the absence of functional p75 in genetically altered mice does not appear to prevent primary afferent pattern formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-565
Number of pages17
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Barrels
  • Injury
  • Plasticity
  • Somatosensory
  • Topography


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