Dorsal root reflexes in articular afferents occur bilaterally in a chronic model of arthritis in rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. Chronic arthritis was produced in rats by the injection of incomplete Freund's adjuvant into one knee joint. By 3-5 days later the rats had developed unilateral swelling of the injected knee and demonstrated bilateral hyperalgesia to radiant heat stimuli applied to the foot. 2. In the same rats anesthetized 3-5 days after the injection, dorsal root reflexes could be recorded bilaterally from the proximal ends of the cut medial articular nerves (MANs) of the knee joint. 3. The dorsal root reflexes consisted of large, medium-sized, and small action potentials evoked in response to phasic mechanical stimulation of the lateral aspect of the knee. The activity was greater in the MAN ipsilateral to the injection than in the contralateral MAN. 4. Local application of capsaicin on the side ipsilateral or contralateral to the arthritis dramatically reduced the dorsal root reflexes recorded from the contralateral MAN, indicating that these dorsal root reflexes depended on activity in fine afferent fibers containing capsaicin receptors, presumably C fibers. Local application of capsaicin on either side did not significantly change the dorsal root reflexes recorded from the ipsilateral MAN. These dorsal root reflexes were presumably conducted in afferent fibers that lacked capsaicin receptors, including A beta- and A delta-fibers.

publication date

  • December 1996