BDNF promoter-mediated beta-galactosidase expression in the olfactory epithelium and bulb

Chem Senses. 2008 Jul;33(6):531-9. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjn021. Epub 2008 May 20.


The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in the generation and differentiation of new olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) and in the regulation of branching of OSN axons in their target glomeruli. However, previous reports of BDNF mRNA and protein expression in olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb (OB) have been inconsistent, raising questions on the proposed roles for BDNF. Here, we report on beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) expression in adult gene-targeted mice where the BDNF promoter drives expression of the Escherichia coli lacZ gene (BDNF(lacZneo) mice). We find that beta-gal is expressed in a small subset of OSNs with axons that reach the olfactory nerve layers throughout the OB. In the OB, we find expression of beta-gal in gamma-aminobutyric acidergic but not dopaminergic periglomerular cells and external tufted cells and in interneurons located in the mitral cell layer. Our results are inconsistent with the regulation of generation and differentiation of new OSNs elicited by the release of BDNF from horizontal basal cells. The results are consistent with a role for BDNF in competitive branching of OSN axons within the glomeruli of the OB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Gene Expression*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • beta-Galactosidase