The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is known to play a major role in sexual behavior in many mammals. This study is the first report that the adult male ferret has a VNO, which is considerably smaller and morphologically different from the usually crescent-shaped epithelium in several mammalian species, particularly rodents. There were no differences in the size or structure of the ferret VNO between the mating season in spring and the sexually quiescent season in autumn, although plasma testosterone, testis size and brain size are dramatically increased in spring and behavior changes significantly. The histological data suggest that the VNO might be not as important a structure in male ferret sexual behavior as in rodents. (+info)
A method for maintaining odor-responsive adult rat olfactory receptor neurons in short-term culture.
We report a culture system requiring the addition of freshly made ascorbic acid to the medium, that supports the short-term survival of adult rat olfactory receptor neurons. The cultured neurons exhibit typical voltage-gated currents and are responsive to application of odorants. (+info)
Targeted deletion of a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel subunit (OCNC1): biochemical and morphological consequences in adult mice.
The olfactory cyclic nucleotide-gated channel subunit 1 (OCNC1) is required for signal transduction in olfactory receptor cells. To further investigate the role of this channel in the olfactory system, the biochemical and morphological consequences of targeted disruption of OCNC1 were investigated in adult mice. Null as compared to wild-type mice had smaller olfactory bulbs, suggesting compromised development of the central target of the receptor cells. Ectopic olfactory marker protein (OMP)-stained fibers localized to the external plexiform layer reflected the relative immaturity of the olfactory bulb in the null mice. The olfactory epithelium of the knock-out mouse was thinner and showed lower expression of olfactory marker protein and growth-associated protein 43, indicating decreases in both generation and maturation of receptor cells. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in the olfactory bulb, examined as a reflection of afferent activity, was reduced in the majority of periglomerular neurons but retained in atypical or "necklace" glomeruli localized to posterior aspects of the olfactory bulb. Double label studies demonstrated that the remaining TH-immunostained neurons received their innervation from a subset of receptor cells previously shown to express a phosphodiesterase that differs from that found in most receptor cells. These data indicate that expression of OCNC1 is required for normal development of the olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb. The robust expression of TH in some periglomerular cells in the OCNC1-null mice suggests that receptor cells innervating these glomeruli may use an alternate signal transduction pathway. (+info)
Immunocytochemical characteristics of cells and fibers in the nasal mucosa of young and adult macaques.
The mammalian nasal cavity is lined by an olfactory mucosa (OM) and a respiratory mucosa (RM). The principal OM cell type is the olfactory receptor neuron (ORN). However, little is known about ORNs in the life histories of primates. The RM, similar to the RM in the tracheobronchial tract (TBT), is dominated by ciliated columnar cells. Neuroendocrine cells (NECs) are essential in the TBT; little is known about nasal NECs. This study examined the immunolabeling characteristics of primate OM and RM for three important proteins-calretinin (CR), olfactory marker protein (OMP), and protein gene product 9.5 (PGP). Tissues from newborn to 15-year-old macaques were analyzed to determine the expression of these proteins during various stages of development. Standard immunocytochemistry on aldehyde-fixed tissues was applied, utilizing the avidin-biotin peroxidase (ABC) method. Immuno-electron microscopy confirmed the immunoreactive cell types. ORNs were immunoreactive for CR, OMP, and PGP at all ages studied. Immunoreactivity for PGP also was displayed in a subset of ciliated, columnar epithelial cells in the RM and in an extensive network of subepithelial fibers spread throughout both mucosae. The results suggest that macaque ORNs express three important proteins over a wide life history, and that the macaque may be a reliable model for studying primate/human olfaction during aging. The PGP-labeling results also suggest that the macaque nasal peptidergic fibers express PGP and that the respiratory epithelium contains NECs with labeling characteristics similar to those in the TBT. (+info)
Evolution of alachlor-induced nasal neoplasms in the Long-Evans rat.
The chloracetanilide herbicide alachlor (2-chloro-2',6-diethyl-N-(methoxymethyl)-acetanilide) induces nasal neoplasms in rats following chronic dietary exposure. The present study sought to identify the cellular origin and mechanisms of tumor induction and progression. Male Long-Evans rats were fed alachlor (0 or 126 mg/kg/day) beginning at 6 weeks of age. Following 1 month of alachlor ingestion, neither histological abnormalities nor enhanced cell division (assessed by BrdU incorporation) occurred in any region of the nasal cavity. Six months of alachlor exposure resulted in proliferation of basal and nonbasal cells in the olfactory mucosa while inducing nasal masses in 7 of 15 animals. Tumors ranged from dysplastic plaques to polypoid adenomas and originated in the olfactory regions of the nasal cavity. Neoplasms were associated with regions of respiratory metaplasia and were often covered with a low cuboidal, poorly ciliated epithelium. Tumor cells did not express characteristics of the olfactory mucosa, including olfactory marker protein (OMP, for neurons) and NMa (antibody recognizing cytochrome P450 [CYP] 2A3, found in Bowman's glands). Sites of plaque and tumor development coincided with regions of NMa immunoreactivity. These data suggest that local metabolism is important in alachlor-induced olfactory tumors and support the concept that metaplastic respiratory epithelial cells give rise to the observed neoplasms. (+info)
The OMP-lacZ transgene mimics the unusual expression pattern of OR-Z6, a new odorant receptor gene on mouse chromosome 6: implication for locus-dependent gene expression.
Reporter gene expression in the olfactory epithelium of H-lacZ6 transgenic mice mimics the cell-selective expression pattern known for some odorant receptor genes. The transgene construct in these mice consists of the lacZ coding region, driven by the proximal olfactory marker protein (OMP) gene promoter, and shows expression in a zonally confined subpopulation of olfactory neurons. To address mechanisms underlying the odorant receptor-like expression pattern of the lacZ construct, we analyzed the transgene-flanking region and identified OR-Z6, the first cloned odorant receptor gene that maps to mouse chromosome 6. OR-Z6 bears the highest sequence similarity (85%) to a human odorant receptor gene at the syntenic location on human chromosome 7. We analyzed the expression pattern of OR-Z6 in olfactory tissues of H-lacZ6 mice and show that it bears strong similarities to that mapped for beta-galactosidase. Expression of both genes in olfactory neurons is primarily restricted to the same medial subregion of the olfactory epithelium. Axons from both neuronal subpopulations project to the same ventromedial aspect of the anterior olfactory bulbs. Furthermore, colocalization analyses in H-lacZ6 mice demonstrate that OR-Z6-reactive glomeruli receive axonal input from lacZ-positive neurons as well. These results suggest that the expression of both genes is coordinated and that transgene expression in H-lacZ6 mice is regulated by locus-dependent mechanisms. (+info)
Olfactory marker protein immunohistochemistry and the anterograde transport of horseradish peroxidase as indices of damage to the olfactory epithelium.
The present study compared the relative effectiveness of wheatgerm agglutinin--horseradish peroxidase (WGA--HRP) and olfactory marker protein (OMP) in detecting the presence of intact olfactory axons in glomeruli of the main olfactory bulb (MOB) in the rat. The olfactory epithelium was damaged by i.p. injections of the toxin 3-methyl indole and, after 5 or 6 days, the olfactory sac was injected with a 1% WGA--HRP solution. No anterograde labeling was observed in the dorsal and ventromedial quadrants of the MOB in the WGA--HRP material. However, in the same cases OMP immunostaining was observed throughout the MOB. In other rats the rostral olfactory epithelium was aspirated unilaterally and after 3, 11 and 16 days the olfactory sacs were injected with WGA--HRP and rats were perfused 1 day later. In these cases WGA--HRP reaction product was absent in the dorsolateral quadrant of the MOB on the aspirated side in all animals, but OMP immunostaining could be detected in the 4 and 12 day survival animals but not in the 17 day survival rat. These findings indicate that anterograde transport of WGA--HRP accurately reflects the presence of intact axons en route to the MOB. In contrast, OMP immunostaining persists in axon terminals severed from their parent cell body for at least 12 days and is a less useful marker of intact olfactory axons in experiments using short survival times. (+info)
Novel microglomerular structures in the olfactory bulb of mice.
The murine olfactory system consists of two primary divisions: (1) a main olfactory system, in which olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) located in the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) send their axons to glomeruli in the main olfactory bulb (MOB); and (2) an accessory olfactory system, in which OSNs located in the vomeronasal organ send their axons to glomeruli in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). In labeling studies using the lectin Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA), we discovered a novel subset of small neuropilar structures in the MOB that are distinct from other glomeruli both in the MOB and AOB. These "microglomeruli" are morphologically similar to MOB glomeruli in many respects: they receive innervation from processes present in the olfactory nerve layer and are isolated from other glomeruli by juxtaglomerular cells; in addition, the compartmental pattern of UEA labeling suggests the presence of UEA (-) processes within their neuropil. Microglomeruli contained processes that express the olfactory marker protein, a marker common to mature OSN axons. However, unlike other glomerular structures, the microglomeruli did not contain neural cell adhesion molecule-labeled processes. Within microglomeruli, UEA(+) processes interdigitated with MAP2(+) dendrites, some of which likely originate from interneurons, as indicated by glutamic acid decarboxylase labeling. Synaptophysin labeling in microglomeruli strongly suggested that synapses occur between UEA(+) processes and dendrites. Anterograde labeling of OSNs, by injection of rhodamine-dextran into one naris, demonstrated that UEA(+) processes in microglomeruli originated in the MOE. The unique morphology, protein expression, and location of microglomeruli have led us to hypothesize that they represent a novel class of glomerular structures in the murine olfactory system. (+info)