It is well established that some neuroanatomical tracers may be taken up by local axonal terminals and transported to distant axonal collaterals (e.g., transganglionic transport in dorsal root ganglion cells). However, such collateral-collateral transport of tracers has not been systematically examined in the central nervous system. We addressed this issue with four neuronal tracers-biocytin, biotinylated dextran amine, cholera toxin B subunit, and Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin-in the cerebellar cortex. Labelling of distant axonal collaterals in the cerebellar cortex (indication of collateral-collateral transport) was seen after focal iontophoretic microinjections of each of the four tracers. However, collateral-collateral transport properties differed among these tracers. Injection of biocytin or Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin in the cerebellar cortex yielded distant collateral labelling only in parallel fibres. In contrast, injection of biotinylated dextran amine or cholera toxin B subunit produced distant collateral labelling of climbing fibres and mossy fibres, as well as parallel fibres. The present study is the first systematic examination of collateral- collateral transport following injection of anterograde tracers in brain. Such collateral-collateral transport may produce false-positive conclusions regarding neural connections when using these tracers for anterograde transport. However, this property may also be used as a tool to determine areas that are innervated by common distant afferents. In addition, these results may indicate a novel mode of chemical communication in the nervous system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Axonal collateral
- Biotinylated dextran amine
- Cholera toxin B subunit
- Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin
- Tract tracing