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Print version ISSN 0120-4157


SANTAMARIA, Gerardo; MONROY-GOMEZ, Jeison  and  TORRES-FERNANDEZ, Orlando. Neuroanatomical evidence of the transport of the rabies virus through the propriospinal tract in the spinal cord of mice. Biomédica [online]. 2018, vol.38, n.2, pp.209-215. ISSN 0120-4157.


Information about the neuroanatomical details of the ascendant transport of the rabies virus through the spinal cord is scarce.


To identify the neuroanatomical route of dissemination of the rabies virus at each of the levels of the spinal cord of mice after being inoculated intramuscularly.

Materials and methods:

Mice were inoculated with the rabies virus in the hamstrings. After 24 hours post-inoculation, every eight hours, five animals were sacrificed by perfusion with paraformaldehyde. Then, the spinal cord was removed, and transverse cuts were made at the lumbosacral, thoracic, and cervical levels. These were processed by immunohistochemistry for the detection of viral antigens.


The first antigens of rabies were observed as aggregated particles in the lumbar spinal cord at 24 hours post-inoculation, within the ventral horn in the same side of the inoculated limb. At 32 hours post inoculation the first motoneurons immunoreactive to the virus became visible. At 40 hours post-inoculation the first immunoreactive neurons were revealed in the thoracic level, located on lamina 8 and at 48 hours post-inoculation in the cervical cord, also on lamina 8. At 56 hours post-inoculation the virus had spread throughout the spinal cord, but the animals still did not show signs of the disease.


In the mouse model we used, the rabies virus entered the spinal cord through the motoneurons and probably used the descending propriospinal pathway for its retrograde axonal transport to the encephalus.

Keywords : Rabies virus; spinal cord; axonal transport; immunohistochemistry; motor neurons; mice.

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