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Author Notes:

Jeffrey C. Petruska: Office: (502) 582-8057, FAX: (502) 852-5148, j.petruska@louisville.edu

All authors had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Study concept and design: JCP, RDJ, RGS, PAS; Acquisition of data: JCP, DFB, RT, JWF, SMG; Analysis and interpretation of data: JCP, RDJ, LMM, SMG; Drafting of the manuscript: JCP; Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: JCP, RDJ; Statistical analysis: JCP; Obtained funding: JCP, RDJ, LMM, RGS, PAS; Administrative, technical, and material support: JCP, LMM, RDJ, DFB, RT, SMG; Study supervision: JCP, RDJ.

The authors thank the KSCIRC Statistical Core for consultation; Drs. Keith Tansey, Kris Rau, and Ben Harrison for critical review of an earlier version of the manuscript; Drs. Wolfgang J. Streit, Louis A. Ritz, Edwin M. Meyer, and John B. Munson for their role in discussing and shaping this work; Drs. Ron Wiley and Doug Lappi with Advanced Targeting Systems for valuable discussions and generous assistance with reagents; and Alyssa Tuthill, Vicki Dugan, Dana Kubinski, and Scott Ferriera for excellent technical assistance throughout the course of this work.

We thank Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for the kind gift of BDNF.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NS080091 – JCP; NS016996 – LMM; NS027511 – RDJ; P30GM103507 (PI – S.R. Whittemore) supporting the KSCIRC Core facilities); the Florida Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Trust Fund (RDJ); The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (LMM); the UofL Dept. of Neurological Surgery (JCP); the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust (09-12A and 10-10 to JCP); the SUNY Stony Brook Department of Anesthesiology (Chair Peter Glass supporting RT, RGS, PAS); and the University of Florida Medical Guild (JCP).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Neurosciences
  • Zoology
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • sensory neurons
  • pain
  • plasticity
  • animal models
  • spinal cord
  • anesthesiology
  • pharmacology

Organization of Sensory Input to the Nociceptive-Specific Cutaneous Trunk Muscle Reflex in Rat, an Effective Experimental System for Examining Nociception and Plasticity


Journal Title:

Journal of Comparative Neurology


Volume 522, Number 5


, Pages 1048-1071

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Detailed characterization of neural circuitries furthers our understanding of how nervous systems perform specific functions and allows the use of those systems to test hypotheses. We have characterized the sensory input to the cutaneous trunk muscle (CTM; also cutaneus trunci [rat] or cutaneus maximus [mouse]) reflex (CTMR), which manifests as a puckering of the dorsal thoracolumbar skin and is selectively driven by noxious stimuli. CTM electromyography and neurogram recordings in naïve rats revealed that CTMR responses were elicited by natural stimuli and electrical stimulation of all segments from C4 to L6, a much greater extent of segmental drive to the CTMR than previously described. Stimulation of some subcutaneous paraspinal tissue can also elicit this reflex. Using a selective neurotoxin, we also demonstrate differential drive of the CTMR by trkA-expressing and nonexpressing small-diameter afferents. These observations highlight aspects of the organization of the CTMR system that make it attractive for studies of nociception and anesthesiology and plasticity of primary afferents, motoneurons, and the propriospinal system. We use the CTMR system to demonstrate qualitatively and quantitatively that experimental pharmacological treatments can be compared with controls applied either to the contralateral side or to another segment, with the remaining segments providing controls for systemic or other treatment effects. These data indicate the potential for using the CTMR system as both an invasive and a noninvasive quantitative assessment tool providing improved statistical power and reduced animal use.

Copyright information:

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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