The use of wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase conjugates for studies of anterograde axonal transport

Patrick W. Mantyh, Marc Peschanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Injection of wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) into the hemisected spinal cord of the rat, cat and monkey consistently resulted in the intense anterograde labeling of ascending spinal projections such as the spinothalamic tract and spinocerebellar tracts and their terminal fields. Injections of WGA-HRP in the dorsal column nuclei resulted in the anterograde labeling of the medial lemniscus and its terminal fields in the thalamus. Injection of similar amounts of horseradish peroxidase alone (HRP) in hemisected animals or the dorsal column nuclei resulted in little anterograde labeling. The rate of the anterograde transport of WGA-HRP in cut axons appears to be greater than 200 mm/day. Small amounts of transneuronal labeling appeared to occur after injection of WGA-HRP in both cut axons and undamaged cell bodies. These results suggest that the amount of anterograde labeling observed after injection of WGA-HRP into both cut axons and undamaged cell bodies is significantly greater than the anterograde labeling observed after injections of HRP alone. Therefore, in the central nervous system WGA-HRP appears to be a far more effective anterograde tracer than HRP alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-128
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1983
Externally publishedYes



  • anterograde transport
  • dorsal column nuclei
  • spinothalamic tract
  • transneuronal transport
  • wheat germ agglutinin-HRP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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