Using indirect immunofluorescence techniques, we have found that calcitonin gene-related peptide-like immunoreactivity is present in the neuromuscular junctions of somatic muscles as well as in almost all motor neurons of the lumbar enlargement of 1-week-old rats. It gradually decreases in both motor neurons and motor nerve endings as the animal grows up and completely disappears from the neuromuscular junctions in adult rats, persisting only in the motor nerve endings on the intrafusal fibers. In situ hybridization experiments have shown that the down-regulation of calcitonin generelated peptide-like immunoreactivity is strictly related to a reduction in CGRP mRNA levels in the spinal motor neurons. These results indicate that the expression of CGRP is developmentally regulated in spinal cord α motor neurons. They also suggest that the peptide may play an important role at the immature neuromuscular junction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience