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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 860546, 12 pages
Research Article

Generation of New Neurons in Dorsal Root Ganglia in Adult Rats after Peripheral Nerve Crush Injury

1Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Orbassano, Italy
2Neuroscience Institute “Cavalieri Ottolenghi” (NICO), 10043 Orbassano, Italy
3Department of Anatomy, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA

Received 31 July 2014; Revised 22 September 2014; Accepted 23 September 2014

Academic Editor: Krzysztof Czaja

Copyright © 2015 Luisa Muratori et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The evidence of neurons generated ex novo in sensory ganglia of adult animals is still debated. In the present study, we investigated, using high resolution light microscopy and stereological analysis, the changes in the number of neurons in dorsal root ganglia after 30 days from a crush lesion of the rat brachial plexus terminal branches. Results showed, as expected, a relevant hypertrophy of dorsal root ganglion neurons. In addition, we reported, for the first time in the literature, that neuronal hypertrophy was accompanied by massive neuronal hyperplasia leading to a 42% increase of the number of primary sensory neurons. Moreover, ultrastructural analyses on sensory neurons showed that there was not a relevant neuronal loss as a consequence of the nerve injury. The evidence of BrdU-immunopositive neurons and neural progenitors labeled with Ki67, nanog, nestin, and sox-2 confirmed the stereological evidence of posttraumatic neurogenesis in dorsal root ganglia. Analysis of morphological changes following axonal damage in addition to immunofluorescence characterization of cell phenotype suggested that the neuronal precursors which give rise to the newly generated neurons could be represented by satellite glial cells that actively proliferate after the lesion and are able to differentiate toward the neuronal lineage.