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The trigeminal nerve in the rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, was examined for the presence of A-delta and C fibres. Sections of the three branches of the trigeminal nerve were found to comprise a range of fibre types including Adelta and C fibres. The size range of the cell bodies of the trigeminal ganglion reflected the fibre range since they correlated with the size range of axons in the nerve branches. Electrophysiological recordings of evoked activity from the ganglion confirmed the presence of these fibre types and the proportion of these mirrored the proportion of fibre types in the anatomical analyses. A-beta fibres were most common followed by A-delta fibres, then A-alpha fibres with C fibres being the fewest fibre type found. In higher vertebrates, A-delta and C fibres in the trigeminal nerve convey both somatosensory and nociceptive information to the brain. The evolutionary significance of these results is discussed as well as the potential for nociceptive capability in a lower vertebrate.


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