Intravitreal Injection of the Attenuated Pseudorabies Virus PRV Bartha Results in Infection of the Hamster Suprachiasmatic Nucleus only by Retrograde Transsynaptic Transport via Autonomic Circuits

Gary E. Pickard, Cynthia A. Smeraski, Christine C. Tomlinson, Bruce W. Banfield, Jessica Kaufman, Christine L. Wilcox, Lynn W. Enquist, Patricia J. Sollars

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108 Scopus citations


Intravitreal injection of the attenuated strain of pseudorabies virus (PRV Bartha) results in transneuronal spread of virus to a restricted set of central nuclei in the rat and mouse. We examined the pattern of central infection in the golden hamster after intravitreal inoculation with a recombinant strain of PRV Bartha constructed to express enhanced green fluorescent protein (PRV 152). Neurons in a subset of retinorecipient nuclei [i.e., suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), intergeniculate leaflet, olivary pretectal nucleus (OPN), and lateral terminal nucleus] and autonomic nuclei [i.e., paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus and Edinger-Westphal nucleus (EW)] are labeled by late stages of infection. Infection of the EW precedes infection in retinorecipient structures, raising the possibility that the SCN becomes infected by retrograde transsynaptic infection via autonomic (i.e., EW) circuits. We tested this hypothesis in two ways: (1) by removing the infected eye 24 hr after PRV 152 inoculation, well before viral infection first appears in the SCN; and (2) by examining central infection after intravitreal PRV 152 injection in animals with ablation of the EW. The pattern and time course of central infection were unchanged after enucleation, whereas EW ablation before intravitreal inoculation eliminated viral infection in the SCN. The results of EW lesions along with known connections between EW, OPN, and SCN indicate that intravitreal injection of PRV Bartha produces a retrograde infection of the autonomic innervation of the eye, which subsequently labels a restricted set of retinorecipient-nuclei via retrograde trans-synaptic infection. These results, taken together with other genetic data, indicate that the mutations in PRV Bartha render the virus incapable of anterograde transport. PRV Bartha is thus a retrograde transsynaptic marker in the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2701-2710
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2002



  • Edinger-Westphal nucleus
  • Olivary pretectal nucleus
  • PRV Bartha
  • Pseudorabies virus
  • Suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • Trans-synaptic transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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