Central autonomic control of the bone marrow: Multisynaptic tract tracing by recombinant pseudorabies virus

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Bone marrow is the primary place of hematopoiesis, where the development, survival and release of multipotent stem cells, progenitors, precursors and mature cells are under continuous humoral and neural control. Dense network of nerve fibers, containing various neurotransmitters is found in the bone marrow, however, the central neuronal circuit that regulates the activities of the bone marrow through these fibers remained unexplored. Transsynaptically connected neurons were mapped by virus-based transneuronal tracing technique using two isogenic, genetically engineered pseudorabies viruses, Bartha-DupGreen and Ba-DupLac expressing green fluorescent protein and β-galactosidase, respectively. Bartha-DupGreen was injected into the femoral bone marrow of male rats and the progression of infection was followed 4-7 days post-inoculation. Virus-labeled cells were revealed in ganglia of the paravertebral chain and in the intermediolateral cell column of the lower thoracic spinal cord. Neurons were retrogradely labeled in the C1, A5, A7 catecholaminergic cell groups and several other nuclei of the ventrolateral and ventromedial medulla, the periaqueductal gray matter, the paraventricular and other hypothalamic nuclei, and in the insular and piriform cortex. Nerve transections and double-virus tracing from the bone marrow and the surrounding muscles were used to confirm the specific spreading of the virus. These results provide anatomical evidence for the CNS control of the bone marrow and identify putative brain areas, which are involved in autonomic regulation of the hematopoiesis, the release of progenitor cells, the blood supply and the immune cell function in the bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-963
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 23 2005


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Brain stem
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Hypothalamus
  • Spinal cord
  • Sympathetic innervation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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