Regenerating axons reclaim sensory targets from collateral nerve sprouts

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Science  20 Nov 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4523, pp. 926-928
DOI: 10.1126/science.7302568


There is a critical period for the sprouting of intact low-threshold mechanosensory cutaneous nerves in rats; functional invasion of adjacent denervated skin does not occur in animals older than about 20 days of age, and it is largely confined to denervated skin within the "domain" of the parent dermatome. These nerves can regenerate readily in the adult, however, and such regenerating nerves do not respect domain borders; moreover, they functionally displace endings of intact nerves that earlier had sprouted into denervated skin.

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