We immunohistochemically examined the organization of the main olfactory bulbs (MOBs) in seven mammalian species, including moles, hedgehogs, tree shrews, bats, and mice as well as laboratory musk shrews and rats. We focused our investigation on two points: 1) whether nidi, particular spheroidal synaptic regions subjacent to glomeruli, which we previously reported for the laboratory musk shrew MOBs, are also present in other animals and 2) whether the compartmental organization of glomeruli and two types of periglomerular cells we proposed for the rat MOBs are general in other animals. The general laminar pattern was similar among these seven species, but discrete nidi and the nidal layer were recognized only in two insectivores, namely, the mole and laboratory musk shrew. Olfactory marker protein-immunoreactive (OMP-IR) axons extended beyond the limits of the glomerular layer (GL) into the superficial region of the external plexiform layer (EPL) or the nidal layer in the laboratory musk shrew, mole, hedgehog, and tree shrew but not in bat, mouse, and rat. We observed, in nidi and the nidal layer in the mole and laboratory musk shrew MOBs, only a few OMP-IR axons. In the hedgehog, another insectivore, OMP-IR processes extending from the glomeruli were scattered and intermingled with calbindin D28k-IR cells at the border between the GL and the EPL. In the superficial region of the EPL of the tree shrew MOBs, there were a small number of tiny glomerulus-like spheroidal structures where OMP-IR axons protruding from glomeruli were intermingled with dendritic branches of surrounding calbindin D28k-IR cells. Furthermore, we recognized the compartmental organization of glomeruli and two types of periglomerular cells in the MOBs of all of the mammals we examined. These structural features are therefore considered to be common and important organizational principles of the MOBs.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.