It has been reported that the arrival of primary olfactory axons is required to induce the development of the olfactory bulb (OB). On the other hand, the Sey(Neu)/Sey(Neu) mutant mouse (Small eye) has been previously described as a model for the absence of olfactory bulbs, owing to the lack of olfactory epithelium (OE). In the present report, we take advantage of this mutant and study a neural structure in the rostral pole of the telencephalon that phenotypically resembles the prospective OB. We named this formation olfactory bulb-like structure (OBLS). We also report the occurrence, in the mutants, of small epithelial vesicles in the malformed craneofacial pits, resembling an atrophic OE, although a mature olfactory nerve was not identified. Axonal tracing, birthdating, immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization using antibodies and probes expressed in the olfactory system, indicated that two distinct structures observed in the OBLS correspond to the main and accessory olfactory bulbs of the control mouse. We propose that the OBLS has developed independently of the external influences exerted by the olfactory nerve. The presence of a prospective OB in the mutants, without intervening olfactory fibers, suggests that intrinsic factors could define brain territories even in absence of the proper afferent innervation. The intrinsic mechanisms and environmental cues in the telencephalon could be sufficient to promote axonogenesis in the projection neurons of the OB and guide their axons in a lateral prospective tract, in the absence of olfactory axons.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.