Sensory nerve fibres containing calcitonin gene-related peptide in gastrocnemius, latissimus dorsi and erector spinae muscles and thoracolumbar fascia in mice

Christine Barry, Garreth Kestell, Maeve Gillan, Rainer Haberberger, Ian Gibbins

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Chronic pain is a significant burden and much is attributed to back muscles. Back muscles and their associated fasciae make important and distinct contributions to back pain. Peptidergic nociceptors innervating these structures contribute to central transmission and pain modulation by peripheral and central actions. Plastic changes that augment and prolong pain are exhibited by neurons containing calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) following muscle injury. Subpopulations of neurons containing this peptide have been identified in dorsal root ganglia but the distribution of their fibers in skeletal muscles and associated fasciae has not been fully documented. This study used multiple-labeling immunofluorescence and retrograde axonal tracing to identify dorsal root ganglion cells associated with muscle, and to characterize the distribution and density of their nerve fibers in mouse gastrocnemius and back muscles and in the thoracolumbar fascia. Most nerve fibers in these tissues contained CGRP and two major subpopulations of neurons were found: those containing CGRP and substance P (SP) and those containing CGRP but not SP. Innervation density was three times higher in the thoracolumbar fascia than in muscles of the back. These studies show mouse back and leg muscles are predominantly innervated by neurons containing CGRP, an important modulator of pain signal transmission. There are two distinct populations of neurons containing this peptide and their fibers were three times more densely distributed in the thoracolumbar fascia than back muscles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFascia Research IV
    Subtitle of host publicationBasic Science and Implications for Conventional and Complementary Health Care
    EditorsScott C. Wearing, Robert Schleip , Leon Chaitow, Werner Klingler, Thomas W. Findley
    Place of PublicationMunich
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)9783943324518
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventFourth International Fascia Research Congress - Reston, United States
    Duration: 18 Sept 201520 Sept 2015


    ConferenceFourth International Fascia Research Congress
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    This chapter is a reprint of: Neuroscience. 2015; 291: 106-117
    (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.01.062).


    • calcitonin gene-related peptide
    • muscle pain
    • back pain
    • Thoracolumbar fascia
    • Sensory innervation
    • Immunohisochemistry


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