Volumetric changes in the anterior olfactory nucleus of the rat after neonatal olfactory deprivation

Exp Neurol. 2001 Oct;171(2):379-90. doi: 10.1006/exnr.2001.7760.


The effect of olfactory deprivation in the postnatal development of the anterior olfactory nucleus (AON) was studied in 60-day-old rats which underwent unilateral naris closure after birth (postnatal day 1). Volumetric and morphometric analyses of the AON ipsilateral and contralateral to the closed naris were performed and data were statistically compared among them and with those of control animals. The volumes of the AONs and those of their subdivisions were calculated by the Cavalieri method and the area of the subdivisions was measured at seven established rostrocaudal levels. Whereas no statistically significant differences were detected between the ipsilateral and the contralateral AONs, comparison of these with controls revealed significant reductions in the volumes and dimensions of most AON subdivisions. The reduction was larger in the ipsilateral than in the contralateral AON and more pronounced in the rostralmost subdivisions (external and lateral) than in the caudal ones, the dorsal subdivision not being affected. These data demonstrate that the disruption of the normal afferent activity to one olfactory bulb has effects on the postnatal development of both the ipsilateral and the contralateral AONs. In addition, the most affected subdivisions were those that develop later and that receive the bulk of projections from the olfactory bulb, suggesting that the degree of maturity is an important factor in susceptibility to changes induced by reduced afferent activity. Finally, the results indicate that, contrary to the olfactory bulb, the contralateral AON cannot be used as a control structure in deprivation studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Size
  • Female
  • Nose / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / growth & development
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*
  • Smell* / physiology