Retrogradely transported CTB-saporin kills sympathetic preganglionic neurons
Aiming to ablate sympathetic preganglionic neurons (SPN) innervating a defined target, we injected saporin conjugated to cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) unilaterally into the superior cervical ganglion of rats. In spinal cord segments T1-T3, the numbers of cholinergic neurons in the intermediolateral cell column ipsilateral and contralateral to the injected ganglion were significantly different by 3 days post-injection. By day 14, 77% of ipsilateral cholinergic neurons had disappeared. A higher percentage of neurons were killed in T1-T2 than in T3. Comparing SPN counts from CTB- saporin injected rats and counts from rats receiving unconjugated CTB into the superior cervical ganglion indicated that 84% of SPN supplying the ganglion had died by 14 days. Retrogradely transported CTB-saporin kills sympathetic preganglionic neurons and may also eliminate other types of neurons that transport CTB.