Development of a MR-Visible Compound for Tracing Neuroanatomical Connections In Vivo

Carolyn W.H. Wu, Olga Vasalatiy, Ning Liu, Haitao Wu, Sarah Cheal, Der Yow Chen, Alan P. Koretsky, Gary L. Griffiths, Roger B.H. Tootell, Leslie G. Ungerleider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional studies of neuroanatomical connections require injection of tracer compounds into living brains, then histology of the postmortem tissue. Here, we describe and validate a compound that reveals neuronal connections in vivo, using MRI. The classic anatomical tracer CTB (cholera-toxin subunit-B) was conjugated with a gadolinium-chelate to form GdDOTA-CTB. GdDOTA-CTB was injected into the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) or the olfactory pathway of rats. High-resolution MR images were collected at a range of time points at 11.7T and 7T. The transported GdDOTA-CTB was visible for at least 1 month post-injection, clearing within 2 months. Control injections of non-conjugated GdDOTA into S1 were not transported and cleared within 1-2 days. Control injections of Gd-Albumin were not transported either, clearing within 7 days. These MR results were verified by classic immunohistochemical staining for CTB, in the same animals. The GdDOTA-CTB neuronal transport was target specific, monosynaptic, stable for several weeks, and reproducible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-243
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 28

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


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