Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 355, Issue 2, pp 255–266 | Cite as

Lentiviral vectors enveloped with rabies virus glycoprotein can be used as a novel retrograde tracer to assess nerve recovery in rat sciatic nerve injury models

  • Yujun Wei
  • Kai Gong
  • Qiang AoEmail author
  • Aijun Wang
  • Yandao Gong
  • Huancong Zuo
  • Yuqi Zhang
  • James Wang
  • Guihuai WangEmail author
Regular Article


Retrograde labeling has become the new “gold standard” technique to evaluate the recovery of injured peripheral nerves. In this study, lentiviral vectors with rabies virus glycoprotein envelop (RABV-G-LV) and RFP genes are injected into gastrocnemius muscle to determine the location of RFP in sciatic nerves. We then examine RFP expression in the L4-S1 spinal cord and sensory dorsal root ganglia and in the rat sciatic nerve, isolated Schwann cells, viral dose to expression relationship and the use of RABV-G-LV as a retrograde tracer for regeneration in the injured rat sciatic nerve. VSV-G-LV was used as control for viral envelope specificity. Results showed that RFP were positive in the myelin sheath and lumbar spinal motorneurons of the RABV-G-LV group. RFP gene could be detected both in myelinated Schwann cells and lumbar spinal motor neurons in the RABV-G-LV group. Schwann cells isolated from the RABV-G-LV injected postnatal Sprague Dawley rats were also RFP-gene positive. All the results obtained in the VSV-G-LV group were negative. Distribution of RFP was unaltered and the level of RFP expression increasing with time progressing. RABV-G-LV could assess the amount of functional regenerating nerve fibers two months post-operation in the four models. This method offers an easy-operated and consistent standardized approach for retrograde labeling regenerating peripheral nerves, which may be a significant supplement for the previous RABV-G-LV-related retrograde labeling study.


Lentiviral vectors Rabies virus glycoprotein Myelinated Schwann cells Retrograde labeling Peripheral nerve regeneration 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81272787), Zhou Dafu Medical Research Fund (202836019-03) and the National Natural Science Foundation of Beijing (7122027).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yujun Wei
    • 1
  • Kai Gong
    • 4
  • Qiang Ao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aijun Wang
    • 5
  • Yandao Gong
    • 4
  • Huancong Zuo
    • 1
  • Yuqi Zhang
    • 1
  • James Wang
    • 6
  • Guihuai Wang
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Neurological Disorders, Yuquan HospitalTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Beijing Neurosurgical instituteCapital Medical UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane BiotechnologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.UC Davis Medical CenterSacramentoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Neurosurgery, Providence HospitalUniversity of WashingtonSeatleUSA

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