Axonal transport of enzymatically active botulinum toxin A (BTX-A) from periphery to the CNS has been described in facial and trigeminal nerve, leading to cleavage of synaptosomal-associated protein 25 (SNAP-25) in central nuclei. Aim of present study was to examine the existence of axonal transport of peripherally applied BTX-A to spinal cord via sciatic nerve. We employed BTX-A-cleaved SNAP-25 immunohistochemistry of lumbar spinal cord after intramuscular and subcutaneous hind limb injections, and intraneural BTX-A sciatic nerve injections. Truncated SNAP-25 in ipsilateral spinal cord ventral horns and dorsal horns appeared after single peripheral BTX-A administrations, even at low intramuscular dose applied (5 U/kg). Cleaved SNAP-25 appearance in the spinal cord after BTX-A injection into the sciatic nerve was prevented by proximal intrasciatic injection of colchicine (5 mM, 2 μl). Cleaved SNAP-25 in ventral horn, using choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT) double labeling, was localized within cholinergic neurons. These results extend the recent findings on BTX-A retrograde axonal transport in facial and trigeminal nerve. Appearance of truncated SNAP-25 in spinal cord following low-dose peripheral BTX-A suggest that the axonal transport of BTX-A occurs commonly following peripheral application.
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