Impaired cutaneous wound healing after sensory denervation in developing rats: effects on cell proliferation and apoptosis
The numbers of myelinated and unmyelinated fibers were counted in dorsal roots of adult rats treated neonatally with capsaicin in doses ranging from 5 to 100 mg/kg. Substance P and somatostatin levels in the spinal cord, dorsal roots, and sensory ganglia also were determined in control and treated animals. Capsaicin administration lead to the loss of both small myelinated and unmyelinated fibers from dorsal roots. However, whereas a near total loss, up to 94%, of unmyelinated fibers was achieved after high doses of capsaicin, the reduction of myelinated fibers, even of the smallest caliber, did not exceed 40%. The degree of fiber loss showed a clear dose dependency, with little detectable damage to myelinated fibers at doses of less than 50 mg/kg and with an ED50 for damage to unmyelinated fibers of 5 to 10 mg/kg. In all of the structures examined, particularly the dorsal roots, a roughly parallel decrease of substance P and somatostatin was found with capsaicin dose. The depletions of spinal cord substance P (55%) and somatostatin (20%) produced by neonatal capsaicin treatment were similar to those produced by dorsal rhizotomy. Capsaicin does not appear to be specific for primary afferents containing either substance P or somatostatin.