High levels of mRNA coding for substance P, somatostatin and α-tubulin are expressed by rat and rabbit dorsal root ganglia neurons

Christian G. Boehmer, Jill Norman, Mark Catton, Leon G. Fine, Patrick W Mantyh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Oligonucleotide probes complementary to α-tubulin, preprotachykinin A (PPT A), preprosomatostatin (PPSOM), and preproarginine-vasopressin (PPAVP) mRNA were hybridized to sections of rat and rabbit brain and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) at all spinal levels. Approximately 100% of the DRG neurons in the rat and rabbit express α-tubulin mRNA, 20-30% express PPT A mRNA and 5-17% express PPSOM mRNA. Whereas neurons which express PPSOM mRNA are of relative uniform size, the neurons which express PPT A mRNA segregate into two broad groups. One group is composed of smaller neurons (200-2,000 μm2) which contain an extremely dense concentration of PPT A mRNA. The second group is composed of larger neurons (2,000-3,500 μm2) which contain a moderate concentration of PPT A mRNA. PPAVP mRNA is present in very high concentrations in the paraventricular and supraoptic nucleus of the rat hypothalamus but is not detected in any DRG neurons. In both the rat and the rabbit the density of PPT A and PPSOM mRNA is high in individual DRG neurons in comparison to PPT A and PPSOM mRNA levels contained in most forebrain neurons. These results suggest that although the level of neuropeptide present in DRG neurons is relatively low in comparison to other brain areas, the rate of sensory neuropeptide synthesis and turnover, as reflected by mRNA content, is extremely high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1194
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes



  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • In situ hybridization
  • mRNA
  • Neurokinin A
  • Somatostatin
  • Substance P
  • α-Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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