Increased renal interstitial hydrostatic pressure causes c-fos expression in the rat's spinal cord dorsal horn

Greg K. Fitch, Kaushik P. Patel, Mark L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To describe a sympathetic afferent circuit, interstitial hydrostatic pressure in the left kidney was increased in anesthetized rats for 1.5 h to activate renal mechanoreceptor afferents. Following renal afferent stimulation, the number of immunocytochemically stained cells for the immediate early gene c-fos was increased within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Relative to the surgical control procedure, increasing renal interstitial hydrostatic pressure produced more immunocytochemically stained cells per tissue section in laminae I and II of the dorsal horn both ipsilateral and contralateral to the stimulated kidney in the three most caudal thoracic spinal segments. Further, the number of c-fos immunocytochemically stained cells per section in the dorsal horn ipsilateral to the stimulated kidney was 28% greater than the number of stained cells contralateral to it. The staining patterns in the dorsal horns of stimulated and control animals were similar with most labeled cells in laminae I and II. These results indicate that (1) c-fos immunocytochemical staining may be useful for tracing specific sympathetic afferent pathways, (2) sensory pathways affected by increased renal interstitial hydrostatic pressure include spinal neurons located at lower thoracic levels, and (3) some of this sympathetic afferent pathway is located contralateral to the stimulated kidney. Neurons in the contralateral dorsal horn activated by renal stimulation may mediate renorenal reflexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 11 1997


  • immediate early gene
  • kidney
  • renorenal reflex
  • spinal cord
  • sympathetic afferent
  • visceral pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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