Trans-neuronal regulation of cortical apoptosis in the adult rat olfactory system

Brain Res. 2003 Sep 12;984(1-2):182-8. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(03)03129-9.


Previous work has identified a population of neurons within the anterior piriform cortex that undergo rapid apoptosis following de-afferentation by olfactory bulbectomy in adult rats. The specific initiation signal for apoptosis in this paradigm is unknown, but may include an activity-dependent trans-neuronal cascade. The present report examined the effect of adult-onset unilateral naris occlusion, which reduces olfactory bulb afferent excitation of piriform cortex, on apoptosis (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling [TUNEL]) in the rat anterior piriform cortex. Adult Long-Evans hooded rats received unilateral naris occlusion or a control manipulation and were sacrificed after 1, 5, 7, 10 or 20 days later. For comparison, a second group of rats received a unilateral bulbectomy and were sacrificed 24 h later. Counts of TUNEL-stained cell profiles were performed for layers I/II and layer III of the anterior piriform cortex ipsilateral and contralateral to the manipulation. The results confirmed that unilateral bulbectomy produced a dramatic increase in TUNEL labeling in layers I/II of the ipsilateral piriform cortex 24 h after bulbectomy. Unilateral naris closure also produced enhanced TUNEL labeling, although the magnitude of the effect was less than that produced by bulbectomy, and enhanced TUNEL labeling was apparent both ipsilateral and contralateral to the sealed naris compared to controls. Deprivation-induced TUNEL labeling was detectable by 24 h post-closure, peaked at 5 days and was no different from controls by 20 days post-closure. Neither bulbectomy nor naris closure affected TUNEL labeling in layer III. Together, these results suggest that there is a population of superficial cells in piriform cortex whose survival is tightly regulated by sensory input.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / pathology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology