Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Input to Autonomic Circuits Identified by Retrograde Transsynaptic Transport of Pseudorabies Virus from the Eye

Cynthia A. Smeraski, Patricia J. Sollars, Malcolm D. Ogilvie, Lynn W. Enquist, Gary E. Pickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Intraocular injection of the Bartha strain of pseudorabies virus (PRV Bartha) results in transsynaptic infection of the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a retinorecipient circadian oscillator. PRV Bartha infection of a limited number of retinorecipient structures, including the SCN, was initially interpreted as the differential infection of a subpopulation of rat retinal ganglion cells, followed by replication and anterograde transport via the optic nerve. A recent report that used a recombinant strain of PRV Bartha (PRV152) expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein demonstrated that SCN infection actually results from retrograde transneuronal transport of the virus via the autonomic innervation of the eye in the golden hamster. In the present study using the rat, the pattern of infection after intravitreal inoculation with PRV152 was examined to determine if infection of the rat SCN is also restricted to retrograde transsynaptic transport. It was observed that infection in preganglionic autonomic nuclei (i.e., Edinger-Westphal nucleus, superior salivatory nucleus, and intermediolateral nucleus) precedes infection in the SCN. Sympathetic superior cervical ganglionectomy did not abolish label in the SCN after intraocular infection, nor did lesions of parasympathetic preganglionic neurons in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus. However, combined Edinger-Westphal nucleus ablation and superior cervical ganglionectomy eliminated infection of the SCN. This observation allowed a detailed examination of the SCN contribution to descending autonomic circuits afferent to the eye. The results indicate that in the rat, as in the hamster, SCN infection after intraocular PRV152 inoculation is by retrograde transsynaptic transport via autonomic pathways to the eye.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-313
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 5 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Ciliary ganglion
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Edinger-Westphal nucleus
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Pretectum
  • Pterygopalatine ganglion
  • Superior salivatory nucleus


Dive into the research topics of 'Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Input to Autonomic Circuits Identified by Retrograde Transsynaptic Transport of Pseudorabies Virus from the Eye'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this