Published online Feb 18, 2012. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v3.i2.10
Revised: November 22, 2011
Accepted: February 16, 2012
Published online: February 18, 2012
AIM: To assess the presence of nerves in ventral facet joint capsules as facet capsules are generally implicated in neck pain.
METHODS: Twenty-four ventral cervical facet joint capsules were harvested from 3 unembalmed cadavers. Paraffin sections from these capsules were processed to identify neurofilament and substance P immunoreactive fibers. Nerve fiber presence was also verified by a silver impregnation method.
RESULTS: Neurofilament reactive fibers were observed in sections from 9 capsules. They were observed in areas with collagen fibers and areas with irregular connective tissue. Substance P reactive nerve fibers were found in sections from 7 capsules in similar areas. Silver impregnation also revealed the presence of nerve fibers. The nerve fibers were also found as bundles in the lateral margins of the capsule. A Pacinian corpuscle-like ending was also observed in one specimen.
CONCLUSION: Nerve fibers revealed by neurofilament immunoreactivity and silver staining support innervation of the ventral aspect of the facet joint capsule. The presence of substance P reactive fibers supports the potential role of these elements in mediating pain. The presence of a Pacinian-like ending implicates a potential role in joint movement.