On the specificity of kainic acid

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Science  22 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4399, pp. 1339-1341
DOI: 10.1126/science.451544


The specificity of the neurotoxic agent, kainic acid, for destroying cell bodies while sparing terminals and fibers of passage was examined by infusing this agent into the axons of the dorsal noradrenergic bundle and measuring the degree of depletion of noradrenaline concentrations and the reduction in noradrenaline uptake in cortex and hippocampus. Extensive neuronal loss and gliosis were observed around the injection site. In addition, a significant and consistent 25 percent depletion of hippocampal-cortical noradrenaline was also obtained. The results suggest that although kainic acid has its greatest destructive action on neuronal perikarya, a significant amount of damage to axons of passage may also occur.