Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 461–473 | Cite as

Transneuronal transport of peroxidase-conjugated wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-HRP) from the olfactory epithelium to the brain of the adult rat

  • H. Baker
  • R. F. Spencer


The sensory neurons of the olfactory epithelium, as a consequence of their odor detection function, contact both the external environment and the central nervous system. The possibility that substances applied to the epithelium might reach the central nervous system was investigated by the intranasal application of peroxidase-conjugated wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-HRP). WGA-HRP was transported through olfactory receptor axons to the glomerulus of the olfactory bulb. Reaction product was localized electron microscopically to tubulovesicular profiles and dense bodies in sensory axons. Evidence of transneuronal transport was indicated by reaction product localized in dense bodies in dendrites postsynaptic to receptor cell axons. Periglomerular, tufted and mitral cells in the olfactory bulb also were transneuronally labeled. Anterograde transneuronal labeling occured in the olfactory tubercle, piriform cortex and surrounding the lateral olfactory tract. Retrograde transneuronal label was found in neurons of the basal forebrain with the largest number of perikarya in the lateral nucleus of the horizontal limb of the diagonal band, a major source of cholinergic afferents to the olfactory bulb. These data suggest that substances, specifically those which bind to receptors, are transported from the olfactory receptor neurons in the nasal epithelium to the brain. Thus, the olfactory system may provide a route of entry for exogenous substances to the basal forebrain.

Key words

Olfactory bulb Olfactory epithelium Transneuronal transport Basal forebrain WGA-HRP 



anterior commissure


corpus callosum


internal capsule


caudate putamen


diagonal band of Broca




globus pallidus


island of Callelae


lateral ventricle


medial septum


optic chiasm


piriform cortex


rhinal fissure


supraoptic nucleus


suprachiasmatic nucleus


stria medullaris


stria terminalis


lateral olfactory tract


olfactory tubercle


third ventricle


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Baker
    • 1
  • R. F. Spencer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyCornell University Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyMedical College of VirginiaRichmondUSA

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