• axotomy;
  • dorsal root ganglion;
  • gp130;
  • LIF;
  • receptor;
  • sensory neurone


Members of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) family of cytokines have been implicated as major mediators of the response of the adult nervous system to injury. The basis for an interaction of IL-6 cytokines with adult sensory neurones has been established by analysing the levels and distribution of the two signal-transducing receptor subunits, glycoprotein 130 (gp130) and leukaemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR), in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of male adult rats before and following nerve injury. All sensory neurones express gp130-immunoreactivity (IR) in the cytoplasm and on the plasma membrane. Levels of gp130 and its intracellular distribution remained unchanged up to 14 days following sciatic nerve axotomy. LIFR-IR was largely absent from the cytoplasm and plasma membrane of sensory neurones, but confined almost exclusively to the nuclear compartment. However, following axotomy, punctate cytoplasmic LIFR-IR was detected which persisted up to 28 days following axotomy. The expression of cytoplasmic LIFR 2 days post-axotomy was proportionally greater in a subset of small diameter sensory neurones which expressed either the sensory neuropeptide CGRP or the cell surface marker isolectin B4. The coexpression of gp130 and LIFR in the same intracellular compartment following axotomy conveys potential responsiveness of injured sensory neurones to members of the IL-6 family of cytokines.