Rat olfactory bulb and epithelium UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 2A1 (UGT2A1) expression: in situ mRNA localization and quantitative analysis

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2001 May 20;90(1):83-92. doi: 10.1016/s0169-328x(01)00080-8.


UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) form a multigenic family of enzymes involved in the biotransformation and elimination of numerous endo- and xenobiotic compounds. Beside the diverse UGT isoforms present in the liver as well as in other tissues, the UGT2A1 isoform, also called olfactory UGT, was initially thought to be expressed in the nasal epithelium only. In this work, we demonstrate the UGT2A1 mRNA expression in the olfactory bulb, using in situ hybridization and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) techniques. Within the epithelium, UGT2A1 mRNA is mainly found in the sustentacular cells and to a lesser extent in Bowman's gland cells. Moreover, in situ hybrization staining reveals UGT2A1 mRNA expression in the olfactory sensory neuron nuclei. Neuronal localization of UGT2A1 mRNA within the olfactory bulb is mainly found in the deeper granular cells. The development of the quantitative multistandard RT-PCR method firstly required characterization of the mouse Ugt2A1 cDNA by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE)-PCR. UGT2A1 mRNA levels appear quantitatively six-fold lower in the olfactory bulb than in the epithelium, in both the rat and mouse. The expression of UGT2A1 in the olfactory bulb, which directly connects the nasal epithelium to the brain, emphasizes the potential role of this enzyme in the protection of the brain against airborne hazardous chemicals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / pharmacokinetics
  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Air Pollutants
  • Isoenzymes
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Glucuronosyltransferase