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Neuron. 2002 May 30;34(5):685-700.

Magnetic resonance imaging of neuronal connections in the macaque monkey.

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Riken Brain Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wakoshi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Recently, an MRI-detectable, neuronal tract-tracing method in living animals was introduced that exploits the anterograde transport of manganese (Mn2+). We present the results of experiments simultaneously tracing manganese chloride and wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) to evaluate the specificity of the former by tracing the neuronal connections of the basal ganglia of the monkey. Mn2+ and WGA-HRP yielded remarkably similar and highly specific projection patterns. By showing the sequential transport of Mn2+ from striatum to pallidum-substantia nigra and then to thalamus, we demonstrated MRI visualization of transport across at least one synapse in the CNS of the primate. Transsynaptic tract tracing in living primates will allow chronic studies of development and plasticity and provide valuable anatomical information for fMRI and electrophysiological experiments in primates.

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