Transneuronal tracing to map connectivity in injured and transplanted spinal networks

Exp Neurol. 2022 May:351:113990. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2022.113990. Epub 2022 Jan 25.


It has become widely appreciated that the spinal cord has significant neuroplastic potential, is not hard-wired, and that with traumatic injury and anatomical plasticity, the networks that we once understood now comprise a new anatomy. Harnessing advances in neuroanatomical tracing to map the neuronal networks of the intact and injured spinal cord has been crucial to elucidating this new spinal cord anatomy. Many new techniques have been developed to identify these networks using a variety of retrograde and anterograde tracers. One method of tracing that has become more widely used to map anatomical changes is transneuronal tracing. Viral tracers are being increasingly used to map spinal networks, leading to an advanced understanding of spinal circuitry and host-donor-host interactions between the injured spinal cord and neural transplants. This review will highlight advances in neuronal tracing, specifically using pseudorabies virus (PRV), and its use in the intact, injured, and transplanted spinal cord.

Keywords: Neural networks; Spinal cord injury; Spinal interneurons; Transneuronal tracing; Transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Herpesvirus 1, Suid*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons
  • Spinal Cord
  • Spinal Cord Injuries*