Detection of neural connections with ex vivo MRI using a ferritin-encoding trans-synaptic virus

Zheng, Ning, Su, Peng, Liu, Yue, Wang, Huadong, Nie, Binbin, Fang, Xiaohui, Xu, Yue, Lin, Kunzhang, Lv, Pei, He, Xiaobin, Guo, Yi, Shan, Baoci, Manyande, Anne ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8257-0722, Wang, Jie and Xu, Fuqiang (2019) Detection of neural connections with ex vivo MRI using a ferritin-encoding trans-synaptic virus. NeuroImage, 197. pp. 133-142. ISSN 1053-8119

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Abstract

The elucidation of neural networks is essential to understanding the mechanisms of brain functions and brain disorders. Neurotropic virus-based trans-synaptic tracing tools have become an effective method for dissecting the structure and analyzing the function of neural-circuitry. However, these tracing systems rely on fluorescent signals, making it hard to visualize the panorama of the labeled networks in mammalian brain in vivo. One MRI method, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), is capable of imaging the networks of the whole brain in live animals but without information of anatomical connections through synapses. In this report, a chimeric gene coding for ferritin and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) was integrated into Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a neurotropic virus that is able to spread anterogradely in synaptically connected networks. After the animal was injected with the recombinant VSV (rVSV), rVSV-Ferritin-EGFP, into the somatosensory cortex (SC) for four days, the labeled neural-network was visualized in the postmortem whole brain with a T2-weighted MRI sequence. The modified virus transmitted from SC to synaptically connected downstream regions. The results demonstrate that rVSV-Ferritin-EGFP could be used as a bimodal imaging vector for detecting synaptically connected neural-network with both ex vivo MRI and fluorescent imaging. The strategy in the current study has the potential to longitudinally monitor the global structure of a given neural-network in living animals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ferritin; synaptically connected neural networks; MRI; fluorescent imaging; VSV
Subjects: Psychology
Depositing User: Camille Regnault
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 13:03
Last Modified: 07 May 2019 14:26
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/6029

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