Axons of lateral nociceptive (N) neurons in leech segmental ganglia wrap certain somata in adjacent ganglia but no somata in their own ganglion. In adults, the N neurons, which accurately regenerate axosomatic wrappings, can be induced to sprout in their own ganglion and wrap target homologues if the ganglion is isolated by cutting the nerve cord. Manipulations that denervate the new targets without injuring the lateral N cell, including focal lesions and protease injections into other N cells, also cause sprouting within 2-4 months. In contrast, cutting the lateral N cell's axons causes little or no sprouting within the ganglion without denervation. Therefore, denervation rather than injury accounts for sprouting within the ganglion. It is concluded that lateral N cells can wrap somata in their own ganglion that are homologues of their usual targets, but they are prevented from doing so by axonal wrappings from N cells in adjacent ganglia.