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Brain Res. 1993 Apr 2;607(1-2):47-53.

Biotinylated dextran: a versatile anterograde and retrograde neuronal tracer.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


A powerful and versatile axonal tracing method using biotinylated dextran, a novel analogue of biotin, is described. Pressure injection of varying volumes of 5% biotinylated dextran into various parts of the brain and spinal cord resulted in Golgi-like retrograde labeling and PHA-L-like anterograde labeling. The tracer filled the finest processes, revealing terminal axonal ramifications, distal dendrites and dendritic spines and excrescences. Extensive anterograde and retrograde labeling occurred in all pathways studied and in animals of all ages. Labeling appeared as early as 48 h and remained unchanged up to 14 days following injection. Biotinylated dextran can be detected easily with any avidin-conjugated marker for light and electron microscopic study. The resultant labeling can be combined readily with other morphological methods, such as tract tracing and/or immunocytochemical demonstration of endogenous substances. Biotinylated dextran is thus an efficient anterograde and retrograde tracer that can be combined with other neuroanatomical techniques to study details of synaptic interaction at all levels of dendritic organization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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